I’ve been pondering this issue of being able to think and communicate under pressure. It comes up on lists of things leaders need to be able to do to be effective leaders. If we’re naturally no good at processes such as these when we’re under pressure, then what will improving them do. We’ll just suck a little less.
So instead of learning to think under pressure, perhaps what we need to do is remove the pressure. Obfuscate, delay, prevaricate, walk away. Anything that enables us to slow down and think through the logic and emotions of the situation, instead of having to try to think and communicate more clearly in the heat of the battle.
You might not be able to do that in public speaking or other fixed events but all other interactions that are pressure filled leave room for procrastination as a way to deal with choking.
This is very true. I think especially new managers who are trying to prove their credibility think they need to have the answer and to have it right away. But sometimes it a good tactic to say, ‘Let me think about that’, or ‘Can you delve deeper into our options and get back to me with more information’ (ultimate delegation to draw on their experience). It’s OK to stall, it illustrates confidence in yourself and your team’s skills. For example, ‘Let me think about that for a few days,’ or ‘Can you investigate further,’ shows you are thoughtful and strategic. The illusion of the all-knowing manager is non-existent.
In fact it is also a good negotiating technique. It will slow things down and may even get them to weaken their negotiating position just to get a deal done if that is the aim.