Virtually every job — even if one is truly passionate about it — is high-tension and intensely stressful. One survey shows that 80 percent of employees complain of experiencing pressure from work, while nearly 60 percent want to quit as a result of the high stress environments. And for leaders or managers, the pressure can be even more strenuous. Burnout, anxiety, and other issues as a result can impair a person’s abilities and undermine their best efforts and even their enthusiasm for your work.
While so many are evidently troubled by the amount of pressure they face in their work lives, it’s not necessarily the stress itself that needs to be addressed. No matter what, some form of stress and pressure is unavoidable; but what can be changed is one’s mentality when put under pressure. By approaching high-pressure situations with the right attitude, one can even begin to mitigate the stress levels that at one point seemed insurmountable. It might not be possible to prevent the unexpected from happening, but one can change how they react to it.
Here are some of the key steps that I’ve learned through my experiences as a manager and leader on how to perform well when under pressure.
Break down the problem
As someone with a background in management information systems and informational hierarchies, I’ve been able to understand complex office structures and various systems and break them down into their most basic forms. Even with unexpected issues that cause pressure in one’s work, applying the process of breaking something down into its simplest form is without a doubt one of the best strategies for overcoming the problems, one that I have found incredibly effective.
When someone in a leadership position is able to turn what seems like a messy problem into something that’s easier for both themselves and their team to understand, it helps take away the fear that initially arises from a stressful situation. Overcoming that initial reaction of fear is the first step in being able to perform well in spite of the obstacles one may face.
Understand your priorities
Even taking things one step at a time, there will always be tasks that are more urgent than others. Strong leaders, managers, and workers are able to stop, think, and discern what issues must be solved first before tidying up the rest. Through this process, leaders are importantly able to delegate effectively and know fully what problems they should tackle themselves, and what assignments can be passed on to members of their team. Team members can then trust that their leader is handling the situation well, which sets a positive example for them to follow.
By taking a step back to get a clear picture of what is causing the pressure, a leader or a manager can not only help make the burden lighter for themselves, but for their teams as well, which can help everyone involved focus on doing their best.
Stick to a plan or a routine
One of the most typical responses to a high-pressure situation in the workplace is an urgent and desperate feeling that everything needs to get done, and it needs to get done now. We’ve all more than likely experienced a feeling similar to that in our careers. But as I’m sure many have experienced, that sort of mentality ends up being more counterproductive than anything, and many will begin to buckle under the weight of all the tasks they must take care of in order to resolve the problem.
Instead of being overwhelmed at the work one must complete, workers should adopt a mindset of sticking to the plan that has been laid out for handling the situation. Particularly after priorities have been established, one should trust that everything is going to get done in a timely manner, and trust themselves to complete the tasks given to them.
What’s important about these steps is that they work to fundamentally change one’s perspective surrounding whatever monumental issue is occurring in the workplace. Even though you might not be able to change the fact that you’ll feel pressure at certain points in your career, you are certainly able to step up to the challenge and change the way you approach it. Once you’re able to maintain a level head and handle the pressure better, you will grow exponentially as a leader, manager, and worker.