When the Pressure Is On…

There are periods in all organizations when priorities collide and pressure escalates. People react to stress in different ways, and managers need to be mindful of this as they lead the way through rough terrain.

Your employees may become short-tempered, irrational, or even scared. Keep in mind that they may have never experienced whatever is now going on in your company.

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High Performers Have Breaking Points Too

You know the expression, “to reach the breaking point.” Not only do you know it, but surely, you’ve experienced it. Breaking points occur when so many things accumulate that the person gives way under stress.

Leaders are typically mindful of how much they can pile on to their average employees before they reach a breaking point. In fact, the typical employee is usually quick to point it out before it occurs.

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“If You Stay Ready, You Don’t Need to Be Ready”

A friend of mine offered this adage. We were talking about an overseas trip he had taken with his CEO, who unfortunately was stricken with food poisoning the night before their first meetings. He ended up making 10 presentations in three days on behalf of the ailing CEO.

This situation would be terrifying for most people, but my friend was totally prepared. As I listened to his story, I thought about how few people project beyond the boundaries of their own job and could step in for someone with no notice.

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The Reliability Factor

Reliability is one of those amorphous characteristics that is sometimes neglected in the work place. We see it in different ways. One team member may be reliable in terms of making deadlines while another is reliably late. One person may be reliable in completing tasks while another is reliably inconsistent.

Obviously, leaders want to emphasize the positive aspects of reliability. They also can’t ignore the negative factors, though, and need to emphasize to team members how this can be career limiting.

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Stepping Up

One milestone in professional development is knowing when to leave behind old ways and take the leap to adopt new approaches. Of course, no one can tell you the best time to make such changes, but you can prepare yourself by taking inventory of some of your leadership habits.

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“I Don’t Have Time…”

This is one of the chronic problems in today’s work place: too much to do and not enough time. Leaders may feel especially pressured by this issue with the myriad tasks and projects that fall on their plates.

Leaders, however, need to tackle this issue a little differently than those who work for you. People are relying on you and are going to interrupt your day almost always at the most inconvenient times.

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Are your top performers holding it together?

There are times when you’re running fast and furious, and your team is doing a great job. But how are the people holding up under the pressure? When you see great results, you may not see fraying around the edges. If unravelling has begun, though, you need to jump in and be on top of it.

You’ll know about your lower performing employees early on. They’ll complain about the work and grumble to their co-workers about how difficult everything is. These aren’t the people to worry about because odds are you aren’t relying on them for the most important deliverables.

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What’s Happened to Reading?

Time magazine recently reported on an American Psychological Association study that a third of U.S. teens haven’t read a book for pleasure in over a year. This struck me as a combination of sad and a little scary.

Reading is important for young people for so many different reasons. Aside from the obvious ones, such as building vocabulary and their own writing skills, it helps build their critical thinking and even their social skills.

The time spent reading has been replaced by time spent on social and other digital media, which doesn’t have the same impact on their intellectual development. This will become our problem as today’s teens are our future employees.

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Prepping for Difficult Conversations

Have you ever dreaded having conversations with some of your employees? We’ve all had this experience and unless it happens frequently, you’re probably not an expert in handling these.

Challenging conversations run the gamut from delivering difficult feedback to firing someone. When you aren’t comfortable conveying a difficult message, it’s likely that your delivery of the message will reflect that discomfort.

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