Sometimes being a leader is a bowl of cherries. Other times, it’s the pits.
Leadership can be easy when sales are up, our reputation is strong and morale is high. But throw in a difficult situation such as a disgruntled employee or nasty rumor and suddenly, even the most liked leaders are in danger of ruining their reputations and losing their influence.
The problem: We’re naturally inclined to say or do the wrong thing in high-pressure moments.
Even those of us with the best of intentions – smart, honest everyday business professionals — are at risk of putting our careers in jeopardy by listening to our intuition. When the pressure’s on, it’s best to ignore your intuition. Here’s why.
- We don’t think clearly when we’re emotional. It’s human nature: Our first response to a difficult situation is always emotional. It’s challenging to have a rational, level-headed, strategic thought when the adrenaline is flowing.
- We act too quickly. Many natural-born leaders jump into difficult situations head first. Problem is, we can’t tame our tongues. And using the wrong words can easily make a bad situation worse.
- We’re easily influenced by our mood and the parties involved. There’s a science to effective communication that’s not dependent on whether or not you had your morning coffee. Going with our gut instead of following an intentional strategy often backfires.
- We don’t have the experience. Our intuition is built on our experiences. Unless you have years of practice successfully managing mistakes, threats and office drama, your intuition will probably betray you. In my experience, whatever you are naturally inclined to say or do in a high-pressure moment is usually wrong.
The good news is you can learn to assess your instincts and develop a more trustworthy and beneficial gut response with training and practice. That’s why I’ve included dozens of challenging business scenarios in my book, The Truth about Scandal. I want to help the everyday business professional handle tough situations such as irate customers, negative reviews, harassment claims, workplace haters and other awkward office moments with tact and confidence.
With a little practice, we can learn to overcome our flawed natural instincts and speak and act with integrity, even under pressure.