In a recent interview for an upcoming podcast when asked what I would like to talk about I suddenly found myself in a conversation with the interviewer about ‘Leaders in High Stakes’. I hadn’t been sure, given the choice, what I’d choose and yet as we explored more deeply I realised why this is so on my mind at the moment….
I had been watching the political leader debates on TV for the next Prime Minister and couldn’t help wondering how what some of the candidates were sharing about their childhoods in support of their policy choices and characters could also be the source of the triggers and themes of their own high stakes reactivity and behaviours!
Leadership is a high stakes activity and being able to handle yourself well under pressure can accelerate you from being a good to great leader. Whoever becomes the next Prime Minister in the UK my hopes are that they have good self-knowledge which enables them to take responsibility and be in command of their behaviours even when engaged in volatile situations with others.
The more difficult the decisions, the more likely it is that our moral judgement will be tested as will our behavioural reactivity, from the explosive outburst to the quiet withdrawal. Here are three simple things any leader can do including you:
- Become familiar with the situations, themes and behavioural profiles of others that tend to cause their high stakes reactions
- Recognise the warning signs of a high stakes reaction and be able to slow down their instinctive reactions
- Gain greater control over their behaviour in high stakes situations through practice and reflection