Leadership is a Responsibility
Depending on the level of responsibility, and the level of ownership, most leaders feel pressure on a consistent basis.
By the way, when I say ownership, this can be viewed through two different lenses. One lens is a mentality and the other is true ownership. Leaders that operate from a mentality of ownership take on the burden of responsibility as if they were the actual owner. It’s a challenging task to balance what’s best for the company with what is best for the people. In an ideal situation, what is best for the people in the company will be best for the company as a whole, but we don’t live in an ideal world, so often leaders face decisions that may not be best for some of the people, but are the best thing for the sustained viability of the company. This is a constant pressure on the leader.
Leaders with actual ownership experience an entirely different level of pressure. Not only do they feel the pressure of running a business, but they also have the pressure of all the families that are dependent on their company, in addition to the pressure of serving their own family situations. This is true for ANY type of business from a structured corporate model to an organization of independent contractors or salespeople.
From either perspective, it can be incredibly easy to transfer this pressure onto the organization you serve. And this is something you want to avoid as much as possible. Not everyone performs well under pressure.
There’s Always a Problem to Be Solved and Performance Measures to be Met
All businesses are driven by math. The numbers have to work. It’s so easy to be so caught up in the task side of the numbers that the people part is neglected…if not abused. Not necessarily on purpose, just as a matter of pressure. This creates performance pressure. For more on this balancing act check out this article How to Find the Right Balance in Your Team – Todd Burrier
As to the problem part, the reason there’s always a problem, is that usually there IS some sort of challenge being faced, and when there isn’t one, there’s the problem of figuring out how to do better in every aspect. Remember, problems aren’t by definition negative, they are simply something to solve. This is another consistent source of pressure.
In addition to these consistent pressures on the workforce, it’s also important to recognize that each of the people who make up the organization have their own pressures as well as the pressure they apply to themselves in the work.
How DO You Reduce the Feeling of Pressure?
It all starts with your approach.
First of all, I’m going to assume you are NOT a power- hungry leader whose best approach is “I’m the boss so do as I say or you’re on the next bus out.” People in a leadership position who use power/authority to pressure for performance are either ignorant of the long-term ramifications of this, overly ego driven, or just plain too lazy to learn how to lead the proper way. Please make note that I said in a leadership position, and didn’t use the term leader in reference to this. This kind of weak leadership will never lead to sustained high performance as the best people will leave. The reason I assume you aren’t this way, is simple. You would never follow my content if you were, unless you are in the ignorant category, and just haven’t learned the right way to lead yet, in which case I encourage you to comb through my site by searching leadership and read everything you can, in addition to picking up some books by Simon Sinek, John Maxwell, and others.
Even with a servant heart, there can still be times where pressure can mount in a business scenario. Sometimes this comes from an external issue and other times its internal. Nothing I share is perfect in all situations as there is no perfection ever, only the quest for excellence.
Having said this, the natural place where pressure can build is when performance is lagging. If this is happening too frequently, you have to ask yourself 3 questions:
Am I doing a poor job of leading?
Do I have the wrong people?
Do I have the right people, but in the wrong position?
The Most Important Question is the First One
I’ll keep this short. You can be doing a great job of connecting with your people, building trust, and setting a proper example (3 Circles Living). And if you aren’t, start there. The next area is the key…are your people skilled up enough to succeed at the level you want for your organization?
You can’t really know if you have the wrong people, or the right people in the wrong position, until you invest in the development of those people. The people in your organization are the most important resource you have. They ARE the business.
You have probably trained then on how to do the job. Most companies train the tasks. But have you invested in training them on the other competencies that build their confidence and allow them to be more effective in performing their job?
The answer in many cases, is no or what do you mean Todd?
I mean the interpersonal competencies that allow them to be better with people, and the productivity competencies that allow them to be better with time. 99% of the people in your organization lack these skills and this lack undermines someone’s potential to perform at their highest level.
This is why every corporate leadership academy I do includes these fundamentals. It helps the leaders to be better, and it helps them to understand what their people need to learn in order to be better too.
The more you grow your people, the more you will grow your company. This single thing will dramatically reduce underperformance in general, because it will make for more confident and effective people. And you will find less times when you are transferring pressure.
I hope you found this helpful.
Many Blessings, Todd
P.S. If you are in need of coaching or training for your organization, reach out to me.
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