When faced with a demanding boss, pushy co-worker or difficult mother-in-law, we face a tough decision – do we resist or submit to the pressure we feel?
Out of a sense of social obligation or fear of unintended consequences, we often find ourselves under “pressure” to do something we did not really want to do, or have time to do. The result is pent up frustration, resentment, guilt and anger.
A new truth to learn: the “right” thing to do, should also be right for you. Here are FIVE ways to handle pressure situations.
What’s pressuring them?
Finding the source allows you to lift the pressure valve. For instance, your boss is pressuring you to stay longer hours, which impacts your work-life balance. So, what does he really need? Is he facing his own deadline, or is he concerned about your productivity? You could request additional resources for a deadline or work on your performance during normal work hours.
Let your voice be heard
When we don’t speak up, others assume we have accepted the situation. “You should have come to me,” managers will say when they finally realize you are upset. If you are feeling overwhelmed, it may be time for your voice to be heard. At work or at home, practice expressing disagreement and your opinion, don’t just go back to your own corner and sulk. Just like we tell children, use your words!
Be assertive, not aggressive
Assertion is a learned skill, and it allows you to be yourself without being argumentative, hostile, or offensive. Start letting go of your guilt and start saying “no” to pressure. Use “I” statements instead of “You” statements. The key to being assertive is to use clear, honest, specific, and respectful communication.
Set and maintain boundaries
As you start asserting yourself, it is important to capitalize on this strength and create some boundaries. If you decide you will not be available to work nights, be specific with your boss about that boundary. If your partner is making demands outside of your budget, be realistic and firm with the new rules you would like to assert. Work and family may hold out for a moment of weakness to encroach these boundaries. In these instances, be consistent by enforcing your boundaries without becoming frustrated.
Presenting an alternative can help ease the pressure. Validating the request prior to saying no helps the receiving party feel understood. By saying, “No, and…”, you can suggest an alternative that allows you to stand your ground AND find a compromise. There are various ways to say no, but when you say it with open body language and confidence, it creates a sense of authenticity.
Leena Roy, CFA/CPC is a Leadership & Life Coach. Choice over Chance is designed to elevate and empower Mid-level Managers & all Professionals to achieve their highest potential. Please join me on FB: Choice over Chance or follow me @CoachLeena today.