When the going gets tough…

Posted December 19, 2018 in Latest News & Insights

As leaders today, we find ourselves in a world of work where the expectations to deliver results are higher than ever. And, in those times when we may find ourselves falling short of targets, the pressure can feel overwhelming. Our confidence can get shaky and our morale low. We can question whether we are in the right role. Sometimes we get to the point of wondering if we should just throw in the towel.

So, what’s the answer to weathering through those high-pressure periods? Here are some strategies from Roundtable Mentors Cathy O’Neill, Senior Director of Patient Experience and Community Engagement at St. Joseph’s Health Centre, St. Michael’s Hospital, and Dilys D’Cruz, Vice President & Head of Wealth at Meridian.

Let purpose drive you, not pressure. Be clear on your purpose. It will reinforce the merit of what you do and will keep your driving forward.

Stay proactive. Keep focused on the tasks that need to get done so that you have visible progress.

Let go of the notion that you have to be perfect. Don’t impose unrealistic expectations of yourself. 

Engage your team. Pull your team together to brainstorm how you can turn things around. Delegate to get things done. It’s not up to you to do everything yourself.

 Set boundaries to help balance the demands on your time. Close your door for uninterrupted, focused time if you need to. Let team members know what the closed door signifies and provide a way for them to alert you if something is urgent.

Find peers you can trust and lean on – inside and outside of work. We can’t always lean on our bosses for support, nor would we want to. Our peers are in the trenches with us and have experienced the same thing. Guaranteed.

Celebrate the small wins. Break targets into achievable milestones. Be sure to celebrate those milestones to keep the momentum with your team.

Find ways to decompress and let go. Whether it’s physical activity, yoga, meditation or something else, find what works for you to decompress.

Feeling pressured and overwhelmed is inherent to being a leader. Giving up and throwing in the towel is easy. Working through periods of high pressure and not giving up is difficult, but it is these challenging times in our career that will contribute most to our growth as leaders. And, we come out the other end feeling empowered and stronger to take on the next challenge!


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