Self-Management Under Pressure

By Lyne Desormeaux, PsyD, MCC. Yes, self-awareness is important but when it comes to dealing with pressure in the context of work, self-management takes priority. You will need self-awareness to understand how and when self-management is needed. In the end this can spell having a great leadership presence and making a great impact as a leader, or it can break your chance of making it or getting promoted. 

I’ll always remember one of my clients being surprised that his supervisor, as well as many of the stakeholders who completed his 360 Degree Leadership Assessment, thought he had an aggressive style. It took him quite a while to accept this truth but once he did, he could get to work and learn how to self-manage. 

What does that look like! Well, first he needed to understand and work on his self-awareness to figure out when his style was being perceived as aggressive. In his case it was when he was on global calls with 5 or more participants. He would interrupt, talk over people, as well as be perceived as yelling. Now that he had identified where this was happening, he could start observing himself on these calls. When working together he would debrief how he prepared before the call, what he observed, and if he was able or not able to self-manage. A lot of the work when self-managing is to understand if something in particular is triggering the behavior. For example, in this case, was it a comment someone said? Was it always a comment from the same person? Did specific subjects trigger his aggressiveness? 

Another way to work with self-management is to be aware of one’s body. Clients can learn how to take a few breaths before getting on a call, they can also learn to scan their body and/or go for a walk to get some perspective and some fresh air. I also encourage some clients to do 3, 5, or 10 minutes of meditation every morning. When trying to work on coming across as aggressive another helpful tip is to know if the client has an exercise routine or a way to let go of stress and frustration. An exercise routine or activity that releases stress could be helpful. 

Self-Management Method 

  1. Identify what behavior needs to be self-managed
  2. Observe and develop awareness on when and how the behavior is triggered (who, what, when, where) 
  3. Learn practices that could help overall self-management around damaging behavior and support the development of new behaviors (meditation, breathing, body scanning, exercise) 

In the end, clients are looking to have the best leadership impact they can have. Once they know that a behavior could be damaging their impact, it pays to learn to self-manage so that they are communicating, partnering, and collaborating in ways that drive results and enhance relationships. 

To learn more about self-management and leadership skills, schedule a consultation with Lyne.