Corporate Training Blog

3 Tips for Navigating Your Personal Leadership Style

Group of stressed coworkers

Take a deeper look into navigating your personal leadership style in high-pressure situations.

No matter your role in the workplace, you can develop stronger relationships and have a greater impact if you are aware of what makes you… well, you!

Two male coworkers talking

In May, we hosted our Impact Breakfast: Navigating Your Personal Leadership Style in a High-Pressure Situation led by Sherri Thomas, CEO/President of Your Leadership Lab, award-winning author, and popular Leadership Coach. Sherri began the session by having participants identify the traits and characteristics of leaders they most and least admired as well as those they could personally identify within themselves. After this introspective exercise, she went on to discuss personal triggers and provided strategies for avoiding, deflecting, and managing them in confrontational situations.

Curious about how to navigate those stressful moments in the workplace - or maybe even at home? Here are three great tips!


The more aware we are of what our personal triggers are, the better we can be at managing their impact on us. Some examples of these may include:

  • Being extra challenged working with others you perceive as:
    • Being slow performers;
    • Dismissive, disrespectful or unkind; or
    • Incompetent (in that moment or situation)
  • Working in a challenging environment where:
    • You feel like an outcast or not valued;
    • The stakes are high;
    • There are unrealistic expectations on timeline, budget, or quality of work; or
    • The environment does not allow for mistakes

Once you have predicted your emotional hot buttons, you can prepare. Take the time to decide how you will respond when this situation arises… which it will! Think about whether you will deflect or normalize the behavior(s) and what you might say. Then, practice. Practice with yourself in a safe space and/or feel free to ask a trustworthy partner to help.


Knowing what may trigger an emotional response from others will also help you to navigate a high-pressure situation. Personality assessments are a great way to begin to develop a better understanding of how you and your peers are similar or different and will provide you with techniques for improving communication.


Invite your employees, peers, or customers to conversations where you can learn more about the other person’s goals and challenges, roles and responsibilities, or definition of successful collaboration. Not only will these conversations allow you to understand them better, you will also begin to build trust, influence, and credibility with them. A strong relationship built on these principles will make navigating the stressful moments a little easier.

And… when the going really gets tough, try this:

Stressed woman
  • Create a safe space by:
    • Approaching conflict as a collaborator, not an adversary;
    • Replacing blame with curiosity; or
    • Asking a thinking, feeling, or powerful questions.
  • Complete the three-step “SAS Rule” from the Department of Veteran Affairs:
    • Step back physically;
    • Ask for a moment to think about the situation logically; and
    • Share your realization with the other person calmly.
  • Sit quietly for three seconds.
  • Apologize when it’s necessary.

To learn more about managing your personal leadership style, view a recording of our May Impact Breakfast!

View Recording

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