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 How To Stay Cool Under Pressure

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Elite Contibutor
Elite Contibutor

Male Number of posts : 639
Age : 57
Registration date : 2007-07-26

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PostSubject: How To Stay Cool Under Pressure   How To Stay Cool Under Pressure Icon_minitimeFri Jul 27, 2007 2:30 pm

We all know that stress is bad for the body, but we tend to overlook
how damaging stress can be to one's career. When pressure hits the red
zone, people can lose their heads and give in to immediate impulses
that lack judgment. They may say or do things that they later regret,
especially when they're passed over for a promotion, or even fired.
Stress and work are inseparable nowadays. Handling stress with grace is
what sets a great employee apart and what marks a person as
upper-management material.
a word about stress

First, it's important to understand why we freak out under intense
pressure. When faced with a stressful situation, our brains switch to a
primitive, instinctive defense system. Our body produces the stress
hormone adrenaline, triggering a fight-or-flight mode that overrides
our logical processes. In the modern world, we defend ourselves through
bursts of rage or harsh words. It's only after our brain "calms down"
and reverts to normal protocol that we realize our mistakes.
The solution? Know when you're about to lose your head and stop the
adrenaline flow dead in its tracks. It's about not letting panic take
over. Instead of giving in to the urge to lash out right away, take the
time to let reason resurface.

Take a deep breath and think about what you're going to say. Use a model of grace under fire and emulate it.

stressful situations

Here are five scenarios that require tact, reason and, above all, cool.
If you can stay balanced during these chaotic moments, you'll be viewed
as the office superhero.

1- You get into an argument

It's the end of the day and everyone's toiling to finish up a project
that is still far from ready. People's nerves are frayed, yet you're
caught off guard when a coworker walks into your cubicle and snaps that
the e-mail you sent to your team was too blunt and authoritative. He
says it made him feel like you were bossing him around.
You tell him to chill out and to stop being so sensitive. You explain
that you're all under time pressure, that you need to be quick and
efficient with your words, and that you don't have time for excessive
politeness to spare his feelings.
He fires back, accusing you of hijacking the project, of thinking
you're in charge, and so on. The argument escalates into acrimony, a
few other coworkers get involved and nothing gets accomplished.
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Elite Contibutor
Elite Contibutor

Male Number of posts : 639
Age : 57
Registration date : 2007-07-26

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PostSubject: Re: How To Stay Cool Under Pressure   How To Stay Cool Under Pressure Icon_minitimeFri Jul 27, 2007 2:30 pm

The problem is that you lashed back in your own frustration, which only made you and those around you even more stressed. Instead of keeping a level head, you stooped to your accuser's level of animosity.

The trick is to not get defensive and to not take criticism personally. Rather than going with your programmed response, take the time to collect your thoughts and stay grounded.
In the forementioned case, you should have calmly replied, "I
understand why you feel that way. This project is very stressful and
deadlines are tight, so we sometimes tend be a little blunt for the
sake of efficiency. I apologize if my e-mail offended you."
By responding to hostility with politeness, you disarm the other
person, who was undoubtedly expecting a heated exchange. And even if
you know you're right, trying to prove it to a stubborn coworker will
amount to nothing.

In other words, sometimes it's better to be smart than right.

2- You don't know the answer to a question

It's what all politicians and business leaders dread: a question that catches them off guard during a speech or presentation.
One option is to stutter and sweat and panic because you don't have a
quick retort lined up. But there's a better way to handle it, one that
media-savvy folks excel at.
Remember that you're in control of your speech. The audience has the
responsibility to show courtesy and stick to the focus of the
presentation. If the question is irrelevant, you have every right to
say so: "That's an interesting point, and one I'd address if we had
more time. But we really need to stick to the main issue."
You can also tell the person you'd be glad to talk to him in person
after the speech. This will buy you time to come up with a proper
answer. Or you can thank the person for the question and say you'll
address it later, when the more pressing matters have been addressed.
If, however, the question is relevant, you can take the humble path and
admit you don't know the answer. You're only human, right? And if you
do it with confidence, it won't seem like a lack of preparation, but
rather a willingness to deal with tough issues: "That's a very good
question, and I must admit I don't know the answer right now. But let
me assure you that I'll look into it right away and provide you with an
answer as soon as possible."

3- You make a mistake

You're in a meeting with your coworkers and higher-ups, gutting a
project that fell through in hopes of finding what went wrong.
Suddenly, a coworker says it's your fault for submitting an incomplete
file that kept being passed on with flaws.
Again, you should quell the immediate urge to react defensively and
instead take your time to think. Don't be in a hurry to talk just for
the sake of saying something.
Ask your accuser for clarification. Have him outline exactly how you
messed up and what its effects were. Listen to his points. After that,
you have two options: Own up to your mistake or refute his claims.
If you realize it was your fault after all, then take responsibility
for it. But that doesn't mean gushing a string of pathetic apologies
while banging your head on the table. Instead, say something like,
"Thank you for pointing those out. I see where I erred now and I will
do my best to avoid repeating these mistakes in the future."
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Elite Contibutor
Elite Contibutor

Male Number of posts : 639
Age : 57
Registration date : 2007-07-26

How To Stay Cool Under Pressure Empty
PostSubject: Re: How To Stay Cool Under Pressure   How To Stay Cool Under Pressure Icon_minitimeFri Jul 27, 2007 2:31 pm

If it wasn't entirely your fault, say so. "Yes, I did make a mistake
and I apologize. However, each person who received the file also had
the responsibility of scanning it for errors." This is a good time to
offer constructive criticism on how to avoid this in the future while
steering clear of accusations.
On the other hand, if it wasn't your fault at all, refute your
accuser's points one by one, sticking only to the facts. Don't treat
your accuser like an idiot. Once you prove you're not to blame, the
culprit will eventually be found (which may very well be the
antagonist, who was looking for a way to pass the buck).

4- A coworker badmouths you

You find out that some guy is spreading rumors about you. The worst
thing you can do is stand idly by and hope it passes. Letting it happen
reinforces the gossiper.
At the same time, you don't want to lose your head. Offending you is
exactly what the other guy wants and you won't give him that
satisfaction. You must confront him face to face and make him see,
through your poise, how wrong he is.
Approach him when he's alone and calmly address the situation: "Hey, I
heard you've been saying these things about me to others. Is there
anything you want to tell me?".
Whatever his answer (he may come out with a barrage of attacks or
cowardly dismiss you), your strategy should be the same. The last thing
he's expecting from you is civility, so it will disarm him. Try to find
common ground, such as your mutual dislike of a boss or a client, or
how you both want this project to take your company to the top.
Then focus on the group: "You know, we all work closely together and
things like this hurt group morale. It's by putting our differences
aside that we do brilliant things." By diverting the attention from
yourself to the greater good, you appear selfless and a much better man
than him. That ought to shut him up.

If it doesn't, kindly tell him you'll report him if he continues.

5- You have tight deadlines

The clock is ticking and clients are waiting for your product, which is
still in its early stages. This is one of those times when the
slightest upset can turn people into nervous wrecks. This calls for
some serious planning.
Stop looking at the clock and focus on the tasks, not the deadline.
Make a list of priorities and work on the urgent tasks first. If
necessary, break big tasks into smaller, more manageable ones and do
them one at a time. Assign a time frame for each effort.

Work first on tasks that need to be passed on to others for review and approval. If possible, delegate some work to others. Avoid distractions by disconnecting your phone and closing your Internet browser if you don't need them.
Finally, control your breathing. A good supply of oxygen quells
anxiety, keeping your mind level. Whatever you do, don't throw your
hands up in hopelessness. Stay focused. Miracles happen near deadline.

be the steadfast soldier

In today's increasingly stressful workplace, those who can deal with
setbacks and crises adequately are the ones earmarked for leadership.
It all comes down to staying cool and collected when your instincts
urge you to explode. Keep your wits in the worst of times and you'll do






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