Pressure comes in many different forms: relationships, family, career, society, and it seems to have no limits. Most people experience pressure that fluctuates over time, sometimes becoming so intense that clear thinking is difficult. Regardless of the pressure’s origin, creating a standard approach helps you manage and lead through it.
I’m a firm believer in planning ahead – learning how to drive as an analogy to looking ahead was used in my Breaking Point blog and Sparked’s coaching philosophy is found in Finding Your Direction. Sometimes, you don’t have the luxury of planning ahead, as some changes seem to come out of nowhere, but if you have a process, managing the immediate pressure and stress can be bearable.
Here is a simple framework you can use to consistently get through the initial challenges.
- Assess the risk. Step back and objectively look at what’s happening. What is the impact of this change? It maybe a spectrum of answers, and in that case, what’s the likelihood of each happening? Thinking in this manner allows you to inject some reality into a situation.
- Be self-aware. Know how you act/react in certain situations. If you are driven by emotion, what will others see? If you become an automaton, how is that received? Becoming aware of your behaviors and either trying to regulate or modify goes a long way in navigating changes.
- Keep your eye on the objective. What does the other side of this change look like? Define it. Make it a something that you can see and strive to achieve. Distractions will appear; putting them into perspective with the objective is a great way to keep moving forward.
- Create clarity. This applies not only to you, but to your team and those around you. What does that objective mean to you and others? Where possible, enable others to see the why behind the change and how they are impacted.
- Communicate constantly. Everyone experiences change in different ways and at different rates. Keeping those around you apprised is key to successfully navigating change.
Having a process to navigate change enables others to be more confident and trusting of your leadership capabilities. It’s also a way that you can focus your attention and remove ambiguity, which in turn releases some of the pressure.