10 Ways to Lead Under Pressure

Leadership can be difficult.

Okay, I’ve just stated the obvious. Anyone who has led a group or organization knows that tough times and tough decisions are inevitable. The issue is not whether leaders will find themselves under pressure; the issue is how leaders will handle pressure. Allow me to offer ten suggestions.

1. Avoid spiritual slippage.

Many effective leaders are incredibly focused on their work, so much so that they neglect their spiritual disciplines. Leaders under pressure must depend more on prayer, they must spend more time in the Word, and they must realize their wisdom and their strength come from God.

2. Avoid family slippage. 

Busy leaders sometimes neglect their families. Such leaders under pressure often disregard the most important people in their lives. Great leaders must first be the right kind of leader in their homes.

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3. Avoid physical slippage.

I recently had my annual physical, and my physician once again reminded me that I needed to remain diligent in my exercising and eating habits. He noted there is no way I can sustain the energy necessary to cope with the pressures of my job unless I am taking care of my body.

4. Love those you lead.

Sometimes, the pressure in leadership is great because we don’t first love those we lead. Indeed, we aren’t really leaders at all unless we demonstrate Christ’s love to those who are under our leadership.

5. Be transparent.

It takes so much more unnecessary energy to be someone we’re not. Transparency means we are authentic and lead with integrity.

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Thom Rainer
Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources (LifeWay.com). Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and six grandchildren. He was founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism, and Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His many books include Surprising Insights from the Unchurched, The Unexpected Journey, and Breakout Churches.