Monday, May 6, 2013

How to Handle the Heat


Leadership poise under pressure is a direct result of a cultivated psychological hardiness that is forged over time and is essential for sustainable success. 

Leaders who possess psychological hardiness:
  • Are able to see & access the whole picture with objective foresight
  • Are poised in the face of adversity
  • Relentlessly seek extraordinary results
  • Possess acute discernment
  • Are energetic decision makers
  • Have the ability to maintain a level of connection between people, reality, purpose, & possibility
  • Are able to lead in moments of uncertainty


In my experience, psychological hardiness is what people mean when they say a leader has "it".  The "it factor" is the elusive quality that people can feel but cannot quantify.  People may understand that they feel comfortable around someone but they can't quite express why.  That comfort level comes from that knowing feeling that the leader can handle the weight any situation and they won't crack under pressure. 

I have seen many leaders who display a unique level of psychological hardiness.  Here are the characteristics that they typically display:

  • They are confident without arrogance.
  • They are secure enough to let others be leaders around them; they are willing to be a good follower.
  • They seek advice through mentoring, learning, coaching, and personal growth.
  • They can hear what others say but can discern what is important; they are not worn down by negativity, doubt, and pessimism.
  • They understand people are complicated and are still willing to lead and serve regardless of past disappointments.
  • They are fulfilled by group achievements, service, progress, and the success of others as much as their personal success.
  • They accept that change is constant and leadership choices are usually not black and white.
  • They know their limitations.  They understand their personal warning signals and have a pattern to recharge their batteries.
  • They are competitive for the right reasons and in the right ways so that they continue to love the challenge and their teams.
  • They evolve and grow just ahead of the teams’ needs.


These leaders have what it takes to make any situation better.  They inspire others through a combination of trust, competency, and action that creates progress regardless of the challenge.  They have what it takes because they have nurtured their natural strengths allowing them to be able to see in the storm and drive on in any situation.  They have developed a level of psychological hardiness that can easily carry the burden of successful leadership. 

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