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The Think Blog

Leadership in times of stress

illustration of lightbulb
Illustration by Sarah Kula Marketing Designer

When a challenge rears its head, when faced with uncertainty, when nothing seems to be going right, what’s your next move? In our career lives we’re all too familiar with hardships, from a challenging project to incorporating a new team, but we often forget our ability to persevere. Our ability to move forward and to tackle whatever situation leads to our successes. Knowing who we are and our ability to power through stressful situations are what makes us powerful leaders.

Our CEO, Russ Starke, regularly publishes videos for a series entitled Truisms. These are quick yet informative lessons for leaders and practitioners across a range of industries. Recently, Russ dived into the qualities it takes to embody leadership. We’ve written an overview that you can read below, or if you’d prefer to listen or watch, click here for the video.

The truism of leadership in stressful times

Who we are in times of great stress, is who we are.

We have qualities that define us. From being empathetic to being diligent, each and every one of our qualities makes up our person. These are then reflected in our everyday interactions, from our personal lives to our careers. When we’re able to highlight and demonstrate our best qualities, they are in turn used as a molding for how we’re perceived by others.

This is pivotal when it comes to leadership positions, or any situation that calls for a leader to step in. To be a leader means to bring your best foot forward, to bring all your talents, abilities, and traits to the table.

In times of difficulty…

As Russ mentioned in the video, if you’ve ever heard someone say a few words after being recognized publicly for great leadership, they will often mention times of difficulty, times of hardships, as definitive moments in their role. When we encounter a challenge, the way we react in those moments greatly influences how others remember us. Were we calculative, mindful, innovative? Which of our traits did we push forward in order to overcome a stressful situation? Which ones hindered us or others? Stressful times reveal who we are at our core, what we value and what we’re capable of.

Credibility is a must

When it comes to being a good leader, having the credibility behind your abilities matters. An effective leader inspires and encourages those around them.Responding as an empowered, confident individual grants a higher level of credibility than a response that casts blame, lacks ownership, or demoralizes. A good leader knows how to respond appropriately to the right situation. Stressful situations are often unavoidable, but every day presents a chance to try again. One or multiple stressful situations is not the end of things. There’s always a chance to rebound and to navigate with newfound ideas, concepts, and strategies in order to present yourself as a credible leader.

Great leadership spurs from hardship

Who we are in times of great stress, is who we are. This phrase will always ring true. When times get challenging, it takes a true leader to step up to the plate and know how to handle the situation. Embodying the key characteristics of a leader is what makes a good leader, in addition to being a source of inspiration for not only yourself but your team. 

To hear more from our CEO, Russ Starke, head to our YouTube channel and watch Leadership in Times of Stress.

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