We have all been there. The heat is on, pressure is building and deadlines are approaching like lamp posts along the highway. Your CEO or Chairman of the Board is calling you day and night, demanding fast action and swift results. What should you do to make sure we reach these new stretched targets? Push, push, push? Right?
Wrong. Although it is very tempting to just pass on the pressure from above to below, it is often counterproductive. An interesting thing about the hamster wheel is that no matter how fast we go, we don’t go anywhere in the end. And above a certain speed, pushing it further just makes us dumber, less creative and more likely to make mistakes or overlook crucial details.
Looking at the situation from a detached perspective, everybody is acutely, painfully aware of the pressure. There is no need to add to it. What will help you reach the finish line in time is a bit of “Shielding”: That calm steadiness from you which allows everybody to breathe and think. Like any traffic planner will tell you: During rush hour, if everybody goes a little slower, queues and accidents are less and everybody arrives sooner and safer at their destination.
It may feel unnatural or even weak, but guarding and guiding people at times of immense pressure gets the job done better than just pushing harder.