Don’t Let the Pressure Win

stressed leader putting pressure on team

If leaders could only see themselves. When they are carrying on like pork chops, and berating their people, just because they can. It can look like the 4-year-old having temper tantrum because mum didn’t buy them a chocolate at the shop. Seriously…

But they can’t see themselves. And you know what, they can’t see the damage that they are doing to other humans, when they let the pressure win.

Letting the pressure win means simply that you have given yourself permission to carry on, to get abusive, aggressive, or abrupt. The three As, and you have given yourself permission to let your emotions control your behaviour, instead of your rational brain.

It is a choice.

We all do it at times.

The challenge is to demonstrate emotional control more times than you lose it. Don’t let the pressure win.

Because when it does, and you react (from the limbic part of your brain – which is hundreds of thousands of years in the making – so is very primitive), you tend to do and say things that you regret. Or that you need to apologise for.

And that is the only way you will not let the pressure win. By having emotional control. Oh, and care factor for others. Who don’t deserve to be treated with the 3 As!

Emotional control is like a muscle. If you use it, it grows bigger and stronger, for next time you need it. Emotional control is responsible for behavioural control. Behaviour follows emotions. And the situational control following behavioural control.

In short, as a leader, if you want to have situational control, at all (or most) times, you can’t let the pressure win.

In our leader coaching sessions, I ask the question ‘are you in eustress, or are you in distress’. Eustress is good stress and keeps you focused and productive. Distress on the other hand is you letting the pressure win.

Distress comes from the Latin word ‘distringere’. Meaning “anguish; grief; pain or suffering of the body or mind” is from c. 1300. Sounds awful.

Treat it like a competition. Me in control – 1. Pressure – O.

Think for a moment what the four-year-old looks like. Don’t think about your response as an onlooker (as we judge the parent, without knowing what is going on for them). Think about what you would do, or have done, if that was your child. What would work best. Shouting back. Probably not. Smacking. Probably not. Reasoning with them. Probably not.

The thing that I found worked for our boys (that doesn’t for girls, I am told) is to change their focus. ‘Grandma’s coming over soon, let’s get home’. ‘Your shoelace is undone’. Will that work all the time. Probably not. But if it works even once in that situation, could it work for you?

I regularly use the word focus in our programs, and coaching.

Future Focus

The first thing to do when the pressure really tries to win, is to have a forward focus. ‘What are we dealing with’, followed by, ‘what does a better situation look like’, and ‘how will we get there’? Future focused.

People Focus

Next, consider putting the people around you first, not last … focus on people, not processes. Engage, and engage some more. Ask for help. Ask for ideas. Rely on connection, not direction.


Finally, and perhaps the most important thing to focus on, is your own ability to deal with stress and pressure. Focus on not letting the pressure win, by having boundaries. Hold yourself accountable for your reactions and commit to responding instead. Commit to keeping yourself in good shape, emotionally and physically, so that you are ready for the distress when it shows up. Focus on your personal psychological safety and be the leader that people remember because you dealt with stress, not used it as an excuse to lose your !@#t.

And, if you are distressed currently, please reach out. We’ve got you covered!

And please click the image below if you’d like to chat about what leadership means to you.

If you would like to learn more about Anton or The Guinea Group, please click hereto book into Anton’s calendar, to:

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About Anton

Anton has dedicated his working life to helping leaders to upgrade their mindset, upskill their leadership, and uplift their teams! With a focus on helps leaders to better lead under pressure. Anton is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, bestselling author and founder of The Guinea Group. Over the past 19 years, Anton has worked with over 175+ global organisations, he has inspired workplace leadership, safety, and cultural change. He’s achieved this by combining his corporate expertise, education (Bachelor of HR and Psychology), and infectious energy levels.
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