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I once had a great illustration of leading under pressure.
Or, to be honest, the need to actually “lead” (or lead well) under pressure.
Friend - Restaurant - Breakfast - Place - Day
I met a friend at a restaurant for breakfast. The place was normally busy and this seemed like a typical day from the many times I had frequented this restaurant. What was unusual was a new manager I had not seen before. And she was in full stress mode.
Suddenly the place was swamped, which again was not an unusual happening for this particular restaurant. The young girl running the cash register was overwhelmed. She had to ask for help several times. (She was probably sorry she did after the reaction she received.) She made a few little mistakes and seemed to make more mistakes the more agitated her boss became with her. This new manager continually “barked” back half answers, displayed constant frustration, and grumbled excuses about the lack of manpower. She never apologized. She just complained.
Server - Character - Number - Times - Attitude
Our server also became agitated, which was totally out of character for her. She had waited on me a number of times and was always pleasant, but the attitude of the restaurant was changing from anything I had previously experienced. Several customers displayed equal frustrations as tensions in the restaurant grew.
The only difference on this day than any other day I had been to this restaurant – a new manager. A new frustrated manager.
Friend - Help - Tables - Manager - Option
My friend and I wondered how we could best help. I thought maybe I could start cleaning some tables but, honestly, I was afraid of her this manager. We stayed, tried to be nice and patient, but leaving almost seemed the more helpful option.
Now I should say, I know firsthand the pressure of leading under stress. I’ve been there so many times where it seems everything is going wrong...
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