How to be Quick Under Pressure



Agility without direction destroys.

You swerve left. They dash left, then right, then left again, until one day it’s too late. The closer your car gets to squirrels in the road the more they panic.

Unrelenting pressure creates panic.

Anyone can rush around like squirrels on steroids.

It takes time to be quick.

Rushing leaders:

  1. Procrastinate. Recurring panic indicates procrastination.
  2. Pressure people and feel pressured themselves.
  3. Make their crisis your crisis.
  4. Think you’re a jerk if you don’t drop everything to pitch in.
  5. Excuse their rudeness. No one has time for courtesy and respect when panic sets in. You’re a jerk for not dropping everything, but they aren’t for being rude.
  6. Failed to prepare.
  7. Feel important. Nothing like time pressure to pump up deflated egos. “I have so much to do. I must be important.”

Quick leaders:

  1. Prepare. Quickness is a function of preparation. The unprepared always rush.
  2. Plan. Quick leaders don’t wonder what’s next. Panicking leaders can’t think straight.
  3. Practice. Years of practice enable confidence. Knowing how to handle this situation frees minds to prepare for the next.
  4. Focus on next steps. Immediacies consume frantic leaders.


I’m a fan doing stuff but some leaders plan themselves to death. If that’s you, just go do something. It’s amazing how doing stuff simplifies imagined problems.

Plans are useful because they explain next steps. Knowing what’s next instills confidence. Rushing displays insecurity. Quickness requires confidence.

John Wooden said, “Be quick but don’t hurry.”

How can leaders develop quickness?

Check out the great list of leadership Q’s on the Leadership Freak Facebook Page. While you’re there, add leadership R’s for tomorrow’s post.

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