Being under pressure at work is a reality for most of us today. Sometimes it might feel like you are working in a pressure cooker where you aren’t sure where the next challenge will appear from. In this article I will discuss how best to manage and use pressure to your advantage in the workplace.
A model which helps you understand the level of pressures in relation to peak performance is the Yerkes-Dodson Human Performance Curve. If we are bored or too much in our comfort zone we will not perform to the best of our abilities, but add some stretch and you will be more effective.
Some of the customers I work with are great at challenging their team. Successful ways to promote stretch include:
A FOCUS ON INNOVATION
Staff should be encouraged to share ideas, solutions and business improvements. This empowers the team to find solutions to problems you may not have even been aware of and make them feel like they are helping to create the business success. A little bit of this goes a long way. Companies like Google fascinate me as they give their team half a day per week to do this and look at the growth of their organisation and the culture they have created.
COACHING IS KEY
To enhance performance you need to spend time coaching and mentoring your people. This isn’t something for staff who aren’t pulling their weight, it is key for all the team. There are lots of coaching models out there which get your team to be results-focused in their conversations. Setting aside the time to coach your team is in my opinion the most crucial part of your job as a leader. If you don’t spend time coaching and stretching your team there will be a huge amount of untapped skills and resources.
In a pressurised environment communication makes the difference. If your team understand why decisions are made and are engaged in the vision of the company then it will be much easier to manage pressure in the business. What may have seemed incomprehensible last week now makes complete sense with the business reasoning and communication this week. I hear so often leaders who say ‘I wish they had told me’ – well the same goes for you, your team need to be involved and part of the solution to manage effectively under pressure.
Innovation, coaching and communication form part of any successful leader’s approach. Start by putting aside a small part of your day to coach your team and I promise you the results will see you paying more attention to this.
Coaching and mentoring isn’t something for staff who aren’t pulling their weight, it is key for all the team.