Leadership under Pressure

Leading effectively in unexpected and dynamic situations

> Target audience  -  Key benefits  -  Key topics  -  Meet the staff

In management we tend to focus on success stories. But based on what we read and hear each day, it may be more interesting to learn how strong organizations become involved in disasters or bankruptcies, despite having managers with solid professional backgrounds. As we all know, mistakes are unavoidable, especially under high pressure. Yet, in most organizations, it is rare for them to be thoroughly examined. An exception is the high­risk aviation industry, which focuses on preparing its members to solve lifethreatening situations.
Leadership under Pressure (LUP) draws on this experience to illustrate ways of proactively managing unavoidable errors and therefore strengthening organizations for crisis situations. It shows how a diagnostic concept is the first step toward a modern working envi ronment in which critical situations serve as learning opportunities.
The program presents the best of ESMT thought leadership on error management and provides unique access to lessons from the aviation sector for organizations.


Target audience

All professionals who have to deal with complex leadership situations, either because of the daily risks to a company’s production lines or the need to change organizational behavior when dealing with pressure, crises, and mistakes.

The program is limited to twenty participants.


Key benefits

  • stay on top of volatile situations and introduce support strategies for mastering the dynamics of these situations
  • learn conceptual frameworks for leading high-pressure situations that can disrupt organizational flows, processes, and employee interactions
  • identify various mindsets and behaviors involved in making mistakes, whether they are made by individuals, a division or an organization
  • solid network of global contacts


Key topics

  • Avoiding the blame game
  • Maintaining control in dynamic and fluid situations
  • Assessing different crisis stages
  • Managing communication
  • Driving decision-making processes in dynamic and high-workload situations
  • Leading teams during crises
  • Understanding the prerequisites for error management
  • Overcoming potential obstacles
  • Exercises in real flight simulators of Lufthansa Aviation Training



"This was an outstanding program. I have never seen a program with such a diverse and appropriate mix of methods. It provided deep insights into key aspects of leadership in crisis situation."

Stefanie Lawson, Human Resources Global Business Partner, Deutsche Bank


Meet the teaching staff

Leadership under Pressure

13. - 15. Nov 2019
3 Days
5,400 €

Jan U. Hagen (Program Director)

is an associate professor and a member of the faculty at ESMT Berlin. Jan’s research and teaching focus is on leadership and organizational development. He is particularly interested in understanding how teams and organizations deal with errors. He is currently studying the interactions of flight crews in the cockpits of civil and military aviation.

His research has received media coverage in outlets such as the BBC, The Economist, Financial Times, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Guardian, Forbes, Harvard Business Manager, Irish Times, Manager Magazin, Spiegel Online, Sunday Times, and ZDF. In addition to his academic work, he has more than 15 years of management experience in the European financial services industry. He studied business administration at the Freie Universität Berlin.


Gregor Halff

Gregor Halff is Dean of Education at Copenhagen Business School and a visiting faculty member at ESMT Berlin.

Gregor‘s research and teaching are predominantly in the field of corporate communication, leadership communication and public relations, and he has most recently been involved in a global research project to define the universal professional capabilities needed in communication management. From 2015-2017, Gregor was the elected Chair of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management, the federation of national professional bodies representing around 160,000 communication managers worldwide and headquartered in Lugano, Switzerland. Immediately prior to joining academia, Gregor was managing partner at Publicis Groupe, currently the world’s third largest marketing communication agency, where he co-founded Publicis Public Relations.

Error Managament

Error Management - The missing factor in today's organizations

So far companies have been thoroughly amiss in their error management -- many are not even aware that error management exists or they misunderstand it as a system for error avoidance. Yet, active error management can be successful.