Alium and Lane4 – Leadership under pressure


Alium Partners in partnership with Lane4 recently held a very interesting breakfast discussion at the Ritz Hotel.

Alium Partners in partnership with Lane4 recently held a very interesting breakfast discussion at the Ritz Hotel. The breakfast focused on how leaders can add value to their organisation and provide effective leadership, which is even more critical in our current economic climate. The discussion was opened by Nick Robeson, Alium’s CEO who introduced Lane4’s Managing Director and Olympic gold medallist, Adrian Moorehouse to lead the discussion.

In his own distinctive, warm and personal style, Adrian talked through some of the issues around the pressures facing leaders today; personal performance targets, budget constraints, clients demands, media scrutiny, etc. In order to succeed however, they need to do more than manage these pressures; they need to thrive on them. Without this ability, leaders can become vulnerable to the debilitating effects of stress, performance can become constrained and leaders can be left coping with the perceived hardships of the role, rather than allowing their talent to flourish. Adrian illuminated his talk with examples of success under pressure from the Beijing Olympics, which brought the subject to life.

In contrast, high performing leaders are able to respond to the challenges they face in a positive way and respond quickly to change, provide direction, manage around constraints and are able to harness the commitment, knowledge and enthusiasm of the people around them. This willingness to embrace "challenge" is what develops a leaders’ "mental toughness". This distinguishes those leaders who can deal with pressure and bounce back from any setback, from those who struggle to cope. Adrian talked about how to apply stress and pressure as a positive as well as negative force, by using approaches to minimise uncertainty, and recognise and seize opportunities. The key elements Adrian talked through with us were:

Dealing with multiple demands can result in a loss of perspective and focus. Leaders need to understand what is within their direct control, and manage distractions. They can be helped to bounce back from major setbacks and dealing with unexpected events, as can their teams.
Leaders are often in situations where they stand alone, having to convince others. Unshakeable self-belief is a key quality in this regard. Thinking about what has been positive in your past experience, rather than dwelling on the negatives of a current situation was one of the coping strategies he talked through at some length.
Motivation is key to personal performance. Managing motivation is about the "what" and "why" of achieving a vision. Supporting leaders in actively self-managing their motivation involves helping them to extract meaning from their experiences, clarify purpose, direction and values, and develop specific goal-setting skills.

We had an interactive questions and answers session following Adrian’s talk and the feedback from our participants was that they came away with some new perspectives on how to manage their own pressure in these challenging times.

We thank Adrian and Lane4 for partnering with us on this breakfast.

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