Handling Stress and Pressure with Grace

Having the ability to handle stress and pressure with grace is a critical skill for anyone, especially if you are in leadership. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how we react to these situations. There are so many life experiences that can happen from tragedies, at work or home and for many it’s how we react, as far as our emotions.

We all face “perfect storm” situations to varying degrees. For some people, it may not seem like a big deal, but we all have different experiences in defining what a perfect storm looks like in our own life. A skill to master, performing with grace while under fire. Learning to be a resilient leader through stress and pressure is something every leader will face and must master.

As a head coach, I was putting out fires every single day. Now many of my high-level clients find themselves putting out fires all day long. Leaders wonder, when will this stop? When will I be able to get to my to-do list? Part of your job as a leader is to anticipate these things, prevent them from happening and learn to deal with them with grace.

What does grace under fire look like for leaders in the workplace? These are people who are calm, positive and carry themselves with a confident presence. They are not stomping out of meetings, slamming doors, raising their voice or having complete meltdowns. How you react to the demands being placed on you is critical to success. Everyone around is watching! These reactions are not what people look for in leaders. High emotional intelligence is a critical skill when looking to promote to the next level. We like to think these catastrophic situations happen to people far far away, not to us, but they are going to happen to you at some point and how you handle stress and pressure is critical to the success of your team and business. I am currently working with some of my clients on controlling their emotions and behavior. There are disagreements between partners, peers, direct reports, and supervisors. Rolling of the eyes, walking out of meetings and creating drama, these behaviors will not be tolerated. Think about your approach and your leadership in the workplace, do you react this way?

Another group of individuals that need to display grace under fire are student/athletes. There is so much pressure put on college athletics, it’s a big time business, not just a simple scholarship there is a lot of pressure and stress, on and off the field. They feel like they lack conditioning, not practicing enough, they are not playing to their potential, and nothing is ever good enough. This is often how they feel. As leaders and coaches, how are we making those around us feel? Are we taking the stress and pressure off of them or putting it on them? As a coach, I tried to take the stress and pressure off my team and staff and put it on myself. I wanted my athletes to have fun and play for the love of the game. There is so much pressure on our youth that we have coaches yelling and parents screaming from the sidelines. Are they having a great experience and enjoying the game? We should not be adding to the pressures, but acting in a way where our people and teams can perform. Performing at a high level, while under stress and pressure, is your responsibility and an important one that will determine the success of your team and business.

The pressure to win every game is consuming and it’s still important to display professionalism and respect in all we do. How are you dealing with the stress from the media, fans, your board, customers, and from social media? Believe in yourself! Be confident in your words and actions and you will get respect and trust from the people around you. Tackle the issues as they come up, if you hide and put them off these situations will continue to happen. Handle tough decisions and situations head on with grace.

My clients are now dealing with perfect storms every day with grace and professionalism. Much of life can be controlled by our reactions, emotions and our mindset. How are you handling stress, pressure and high expectations in your own life and in a business arena?
If you would like more in-depth examples and discussions on this topic, you can find more information in Chapter One and throughout my book, ON Point.

 


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