Be the Same Boss in Stressful Times That You Are in Calm Times

How would your direct reports describe your behavior under pressure? Many bosses become emotional, controlling, and close-minded — which can have a hugely negative impact on their team’s morale and productivity. To lead effectively when the pressure is on, think about the team dynamic you want to build over the long term. Then think about whether your stress-driven actions support that dynamic or undermine it. For example, in normal circumstances you wouldn’t try to motivate people with fear or threats, so don’t do it during stressful times, either. Talk to your team about why you’re under pressure and what you need from them, and thank them in advance for putting in extra effort. And normally you wouldn’t get angry or shut down in tense conversations, so don’t let stress keep you from listening to others and engaging thoughtfully. Once this period of stress is over, your team will remember how you led during it — so make sure their memories are positive.

Adapted from “When Managers Break Down Under Pressure, So Do Their Teams,” by David Maxfield and Justin Hale.