Staying Positive Under Pressure

Our organization’s payroll team has recently gone through a software change, and if you’ve ever been through a significant technology change like that, you probably just groaned and shook your head in shared sympathy. There just isn’t room for error when it comes to dealing with others’ paychecks, so the stress level among this team has been heightened, to say the least.

I had the chance to sit in on this team’s meeting this week, and their leader asked everyone to come to the meeting with a few ways they have worked to stay positive in the midst of this stressful and sometimes frustrating transition.

“It’s not easy, but it’s necessary.”

That’s how this leader summed up her efforts at positivity, and it’s true. When it’s all sunshine and rainbows, positivity comes naturally. But when it’s all roadblocks and challenges, staying positive is hard work, but it is essential if you want people to remain engaged and committed.

Here are eight actions this team shared for staying positive under pressure:

  1. Laugh through the struggles. Yes, sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying! Don’t lose your sense of humor or your ability to see the irony of a stressful situation.
  2. Draw support from your teammates. This team was in it together, and they were committed to working through the transition together.
  3. Allow others to help you if you’re struggling. Don’t be a martyr; ask for help, and allow your teammates to help you. It will save you time and unnecessary frustration.
  4. Don’t take things personally. Stress can expose our nerves and shorten our fuses. Remember to assume innocence.
  5. Own up to and learn from your mistakes. Sure, it’s hard to admit you screwed up, but taking ownership of our slip-ups and learning from them is a sign of strong character.
  6. Focus on the big picture – not short-term challenges. After all the changes and frustrations and issues and hiccups, we’ll have a more user-friendly, more intuitive payroll system. It WILL be worth it.
  7. Leave the stress at work. Go for a run, play with the dog, watch your favorite comedy. Give your brain a break after the especially difficult days.
  8. Take a deep breath. You really will get through this. In fact, many people this very moment are getting through much, much harder challenges. So, take a deep breath. It’s going to be okay.

What are your best practices for staying positive under pressure?


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