Hey! Remember that line you added in your CV – “I can work effectively under pressure?” Yeah, that line. It has finally come back to haunt you! Alright, I’m just kidding. Haha! But is handling pressure in the workplace really a strength of yours?
To be honest, a good number of job seekers have this on their list of strengths. And as cliché as it may sound, it is actually an invaluable skill. Work comes with a lot of stress and our ability to effectively manage it means that we are growing.
So, have you been failing at handling pressure in the workplace? Do not worry, this piece will show you the most likely causes of pressure you will face in the workplace and how to handle them. Are you ready? Let’s go!“I can work effectively under pressure?” And as cliché as it may sound, it is actually an invaluable skill. Click To Tweet
Handling pressure in the workplace: Causes and Solutions
1. New Job Roles
Everyone has a story of their first day in the office. However, we often don’t get to hear about their first couple of months and how difficult it was. I have been “privileged” to hear a few and it often includes tales of frustration, self doubt and tears!
Why is this so, though? The simple reason is because it takes time to develop expertise in anything. For example, no one was born a fluent speaker. We all babbled and then learnt to pronounce letters followed by words before we began to learn how to string those words into sentences. But look at us now! See how amazing we sound! Yet, that process took a period of time, even more. Same analogy applies to the workplace.Whilst you may not have that luxury of time to learn and be a badass at your place of work, the underlying truth remains that you need to give yourself time to learn (or improve). Click To Tweet
Whilst you may not have that luxury of time to learn and be a badass at your place of work, the underlying truth remains that you need to give yourself time to learn (or improve). If this happens to be one of your major stressors right now, hear this again, “Give yourself time!”
Along with this, you will need to ask questions, a lot of them to be honest. Similarly, open your mind to learning from your colleagues, both senior and junior. Also, accept corrections gracefully and do better next time. If you do this, you will find that handling pressure in the workplace will improve drastically.
2. Looming Deadlines
Sometimes we have so much work to do and so little time. Therefore, we just want to give up or act indifferent. However, working in a fast-paced organization helped me realise plenty of work and little time is a good enough reason for failure. However, a cowardly one.
Since I detest failure, I had to learn how to deal with the situation. So how did I go about it? First, I planned my time according to the urgency of the work before me. For example, if I have a presentation due the next day, I take note of necessary actions to achieve this – Research, prepare slides, etc. I ask myself questions like “How much time can I allocate to each of these tasks?” “What’s left to be done?” and so on. This way, I know the task to start with, the next one as well as the time to finish each task.
In addition, planning helps to lessen the pressure that comes with deadlines. It arranges the numerous ideas in our heads into simple actions that can fit into specific time lines. Whatever your situation is, a good plan takes a lot of the mental strain away and prepares you to do the real work.Sometimes, we have so much work to do and so little time. Planning helps us to stay productive and handle the pressure. Click To Tweet
After making a plan, execute it! This is important because no matter how good a plan is, if we are not disciplined enough to execute it, it is useless. On this note, I would like to admonish my last-minute workers – Leaving your tasks till the last minute will not only affect you but also your colleagues! For example, if your unit head is relying on a report from you in order to prepare and submit his own report, but yours comes in late, it means his performance at work will be impeded.
In this light, consider how your job impacts your fellow colleagues and get effective with meeting deadlines.
3. Difficult Coworkers
This one is altogether frustrating. No one wants to deal with this, but some of us will, which means we need to know how to handle such a situation. But how? Firstly, let me just start with the fact that the Holy Spirit makes this easier for everyone who believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior because such a person has the fruit of the spirit – LOVE at work in them (Gal 5:22). This means that if you are a believer, you are in a better position to manage this.
Secondly, as a child of God, one of the things you can do for your difficult colleagues is to care for them genuinely and pray for them. In my own case, I have a colleague who is rude and likes to shout a lot. The Holy Spirit asked me to pray for her and for her job daily. This has prevented me from developing feelings of animosity towards her. A quote says it is difficult to hate a man you pray for, and I agree.
In addition to this, I have observed that difficult coworkers tend to be bullies. One way to manage them is to understand your job roles and expectations. If you are asked to take up other roles, consider yours first. Have you delivered on those? Do you have the time to take up what you’re being asked or demanded? If yes, accept it but if no, decline it with poise. You can say, “I am sorry I will have to decline because I still have work to do.” Be humble but firm.Difficult coworkers tend to be bullies. One way to manage them is to understand your job roles and expectations. If you are asked to take up other roles, consider yours first. Click To Tweet
Give your best to your job. Offer to help when and if you can. In fact, if you notice that the colleague is struggling with meeting deadlines and you can help, if possible. In all of this, let love be your watchword.
However, these are just a few ways to deal with difficult co-workers. We have a whole article dedicated to this topic. Check it out – Dealing with difficult co-workers.
4. Personal Problems
This one is more about the pressure we face personally than those foisted on us by others. So here goes. There are times we fight personal battles and the strain seeps into our work-life. And as much as we encourage people to leave their personal issues at home, the truth is that this is easier said than done. Grief and pain has a way of filtering into every aspect of our lives, no matter how hard we try.
So my first piece of advice to you if you’re experiencing a personal problem is to acknowledge how you feel. Recognise the difficulty of the situation and how it is telling on your job. As you do this, don’t stop there, talk to God about it. He cares for your entire well being and desires that you give your best at your place of work. And if something is disturbing this, then He wants to help you. So give it all to Him.
In addition, I learnt from Phil 4:4 that God’s first response in times of trials is to give us peace. When we are at peace, we are more open to His workings and leading. As we pour out our hearts to Him, He takes the burdens off and makes the journey ahead easier. So please cultivate the habit of taking all your issues to God in prayer.
In addition to this, you can also have a discussion with your boss or superior, especially if the problem is affecting your work. For example, if your wife or mother is sick and you are the only one available to take care of them, it might affect your punctuality. So let them know the reason for your lateness. Note that you do not have to divulge all the details, just let them understand that this new trend is unlike you and is due to the illness.There are times we fight personal battles and the strain seeps into our work-life. And as much as we encourage people to leave their personal issues at home, the truth is that this is easier said than done. Click To Tweet
Assure them that you’re still going to give your best to your job. If you can request for some days off, please do so as well. But if you can’t, remember that God cares for you and that situation you’re facing. I realize that this is just one example, but I believe that whatever our situation or personal struggle is, the wisdom of God is available to help us discern what steps to take.
I hope you have found these helpful? What sort of pressure are you currently facing in the office? What do you plan to do after reading this?
Do you have any other thoughts on handling pressure in the workplace? Please share in the comments section below. Thank you.
You can also read “Representing God in the Workplace: 4 Things To Consider“.
Written by: Elegbeleye Oluwatobi