Overt and covert pressures on future leaders

Leaders always respond to pressure in some way. The word “pressure” I am using in the broadest possible sense. The feedback you are hearing and feeling from your team is a pressure. The demands from your clients, whether expressed or insinuated, are a pressure. Your email inbox is a pressure. Technology that is reshaping your work and how you do that work is a pressure. Imagine that all of these pressures in aggregate are constantly working to bend and shape how you show up as a leader in the workplace. The nuance is that all pressures come in both overt and covert flavors. Overt pressures are loud and demand you respond quickly. Imagine a full balloon that gets let go. It’s noisy and dances all around the room. Covert pressures are subtle. Like a quiet gentleman in the corner of the room at the party. Overt pressures are overstated and temporary. Covert pressures are, by natural design, understated in the moment but have massive impact over time. Overt pressures are the urgent. Covert pressures are the important. The trick is that leaders of future organizations must tune themselves to these different flavors of pressure. Then, they must constantly rebalance the amount of time they spend on overt pressures as compared to covert pressures.

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Future Leader | Leadership

Published on December 4, 2018

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