Are you feeling under intense pressure? Periodically I go through seasons in my life when the pressure seems almost too much to bear. Pressure to perform. Pressure to hit numbers. Pressure on my calendar. And few things are as heavy in this world as financial pressure.
As leaders, pressure is something we must deal with, manage, and ultimately overcome. I have also learned the difference between good leaders and great leaders is the ability to execute under pressure..
This past fall, the Alabama Crimson Tide football faced two high pressure, big game situations – November 9th against LSU and November 28th in a classic against rival Auburn in which the historic final play is shown above.
As each game approached I found the comments of the participants quite insightful. The following are 15 Practices Of Leaders Who Succeed Under Pressure I gleaned from their thoughts:
ESPN College Gameday November 9th
- Leaders Who Succeed Under Pressure Are Confident – When asked why his team consistently plays well in Tuscaloosa, LSU head coach Les Miles said, “We have a good football team. Good football teams win on the road.”
- Leaders Who Succeed Under Pressure Ignore Naysayers – For leaders, there is never a shortage of doubters. People whispering in your ear to quit or “you’re not good enough” seems to be a constant. Miles goes on to add, ”Nobody that makes a comment on the perimeter of the game has anything to do with the outcome.”
- Leaders Who Succeed Under Pressure Do Not Take Unnecessary Risks – Quarterback guru George Whitfield Jrs. says, ”He has NFL level anticipation and timing and I think the biggest thing about A.J. McCarron (is he) never gambles with the football.”
- Leaders Who Succeed Under Pressure Play To Their Strengths - Head coach Nick Saban says of McCarron, “Maybe his statistics are not what somebody else’s are but really what you should equate things to are production, performance, efficiency, consistency, and winning. And that’s what he’s done better than anyone else.”
- Leaders Who Succeed Under Pressure Have Proper Focus – Saban adds, “You must stay focused on the process of what you need to do.”
- Leaders Who Succeed Under Pressure Overcome Negatives - Saban continues, “You’ve got to able to overcome negatives.”
- Leaders Who Succeed Under Pressure Are Resilient – Leaders who effectively do not stop and complain about their situation. They continually move forward. Saban reminds us, “If you play good teams they’re going to make some big plays to and you’ve got to go play the next play.”
- Leaders Who Succeed Under Pressure Face Uncertainty – When facing LSU, Saban admitted, “They’ve been less predictable and that’s made them more effective.”
ESPN College Gameday November 30th
- Leaders Who Succeed Under Pressure Limit Distractions - An unnamed Alabama coach told Tom Rinaldi, “Fewer distractions fuel greater focus.”
- Leaders Who Succeed Under Pressure Welcome Challenges - ESPN’s Lee Corso said, “The games you remember are the games you play in November.”
- Leaders Who Succeed Under Pressure Trust Their Preparation - Coach Saban referred to his famous process by saying, “What we try to do is get our guys focused on the process of what is going to happen on the field and how they need to impact what happens on the field.”
- Leaders Who Succeed Under Pressure Think Differently - McCarron said, “Being under him (Saban) has changed my mindset on everything.”
- Leaders Who Succeed Under Pressure Prioritize Others Over Themselves – Referring to personal statistics, McCarron adds, “I realized what was more important for us as a team rather than myself.”
- Leaders Who Succeed Under Pressure Have Great Intensity - McCarron goes on, “I play with a chip on my shoulder and I do feel disrespected at times.”
- Leaders Who Succeed Under Pressure Limit Their Mistakes - Finally, Spencer Tillman of CBS Sports was prophetic prior to The Iron Bowl when he said in the pre-game show, “Big games are lost. Not won.”
What other things do you do to succeed under pressure?
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