Leadership Series: Common Traits of Successful Leaders. Trait #15 Calm Under Pressure

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“Calmness, not skill, is the sign of a matured Samurai.” – Tsukahara Bokuden

Successful Leaders are masters of their emotions.

You don’t see Successful Leaders celebrating excessively when they are successful, nor do you see them down in the dumps when they fail.

Successful Leaders have forged the habit of remaining calm under pressure.


Successful Leaders understand that uncontrolled emotions lead to bad decisions. This is because when the emotional center of the brain, the amygdala, becomes amplified, the thinking part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, shuts down or temporarily hibernates. When that happens, the ability to make logical decisions is overpowered by emotions.

You always want your prefrontal cortex, your logical mind, to be in control of your behavior, not your amygdala. Your amygdala will cause you to lose focus, act impulsively, make bad decisions and create more problems.

When you allow your emotions to run high, you are literally turning off half of your brain. The prefrontal cortex shuts down when your emotions, good or bad, are allowed to run wild. This is a particularly bad thing when you experience defeat or setbacks because that is when you need your entire brain to help you to overcome defeat and setbacks.

Successful Leaders understand this and that is why they are able to think clearly, in order to solve problems, when things go wrong.

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