Why Do The Best Leaders Downplay Pressure

All leaders feel pressure. You may experience it by just showing up at work, by sitting in a million meetings a day, by feeling that you’re constantly in problem-solving mode, by juggling the day-to-day demands of management. There is always something to fret or worry about, always something that is urgent. Unmanaged, pressure can leave you feeling ready to burst.

As an executive coach who works with prominent leaders in their respective industries, I see the pressure many people constantly live under—as well as its consequences. A few years ago, when one of my clients told me how the constant anxiety of his job was truly getting the best of him, I made a simple suggestion: if you cannot change the situation you must change your mindset about the situation.

Instead of looking at everything as a problem, I told him, look at situations as opportunities. Instead of taking everything so seriously, look for situations you can have some fun with. This mindset shift was a game changer for him.

When you cultivate the ability to downplay pressure, you reap significant benefits:

Lowered stress. When you feel pressured you feel trapped, and when you feel trapped you experience physical responses that are harmful to your body and mind. The best leaders understand that when they defuse pressure, they lower their own damaging stress responses and those of everyone on their team.

Improved focus. Sometimes when pressure is intense it can make you feel that you are literally spinning out of control. Great leaders know that by reducing external pressure they can cultivate a sense of internal calm. They teach their people to eliminate distractions and remove unnecessary diversions, helping to keep them calm, focused and productive.

Increased courage. When you’re in leadership, big decisions are an everyday part of your job—and big decisions require courage. Often it’s this ability to take a courageous risk that makes a difference between good enough and greatness—and stress may make you more likely to shy away. Great leaders intuitively understand that when you downplay stress you can allow yourself to feel bold, which in turn helps you embolden their team to do great things.

We all experience pressure—not only leaders but workers at every level. But if you can follow the example of great leaders and learn to downplay the pressure, you and your team can better cultivate the skills you need to be successful. It’s a best practice that all of us can use.

Lead from within: The greatest leaders downplay pressure to up play success.


#1 N A T I O N A L  B E S T S E L L E R

The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

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