work effectively under pressure

How well do you work under pressure? We have probably heard this question a couple of times during job interviews. Interviewers might even present us with different scenarios just to see how we would react. That’s because the ability to remain calm and composed under pressure is a highly-valued trait. In times of crisis, the organisation needs someone to effectively resolve the problem in a calm and rational manner (Think firefighters putting out the fire without panicking). This includes situations of confrontation, tight deadlines or unexpected bad news. If you are aiming for leadership roles, master this trait! How you respond or deal with these triggers will set you apart from the rest.

So how do we work effectively under pressure without cracking? It’s actually as simple as ABCDE!

Ask Questions

Imagine this: You received a call from your boss, asking you to rush out a last minute report for a valued client. How about learning that your marketing campaign has received negative criticism from the public? What’s the first thing that you would do? The common reaction would be to react and get caught up in the chaos. But rather than jumping into conclusions and rushing to react, slow down. Ask questions to find out more about the situation, know what needs to be done before you start working on it. Clarifying your doubts will give you the time you need to think and formulate your next course of action.

Be In Control

When things go awry, it’s easy to let the pressure overwhelm you and start pointing fingers. While we can’t control how others react, we can definitely control the way we react. So, step back and take a deep breath. In situations of chaos and uncertainty, we need someone who is calm and steady. The last thing we need is someone who will add fuel to the fire. Focus on the present and how you can move forth, don’t harp on the past.

Change Your Mindset

Remember Kelly Clarkson’s song – “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”? That’s right! Just like how the best diamonds are forged under high pressure, pressure will only make you stronger! Treat it as an opportunity for you to learn, grow and expand your capabilities. We tend to perform better when we let go of the perception that pressure is a threat. No doubt, it will be challenging. But have faith in yourself, you are stronger and better than you think!

Distance From Negative Peers

I’m sure we have all felt anxious when one of our colleagues gets panicky during a meeting. We might even feel upset when there’s a heated argument during the meeting even though it might not directly concern us. Don’t underestimate the power of energy! Positive energy uplifts you, while negative energy drags you down. Surround yourself with positivity and people who cheer you on. This will give you the motivation to power through difficult times and emerge stronger.

Expect The Unexpected

What if you forgot to bring the sales deck for your pitch? What if you miscalculated the time and now you’re late for an important meeting? Let’s face it, things don’t often go as planned. Unforeseen circumstances and change in goals can cause hiccups along the way for us. We won’t know when these things will happen, but we can plan ahead and prepare ourselves for it to happen. Always ask yourself “What if” and have backup plans. Think of a Plan B or even a Plan C in case things don’t go as planned. Anticipating different scenarios enables you to recover and adapt to the change more quickly.


What are some other ways you cope with pressure from work? If you are struggling under the pressure from work, know that it’s okay and normal. We can’t be perfect all the time, but that’s what makes us human. Take breaks if needed and come back stronger!


Read more on how to work under pressure here or reach out to us!

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