Keeping Your Executive Presence When Under Work Pressure
I’ve written a lot about Executive Presence, including how and why it can tremendously impact your career trajectory.
This aspect of your professional demeanor is extremely important, which is why my clients spend a lot of time building and focusing on Executive Presence. But as much as we strive to present an unruffled exterior, even the best of us sometimes get thrown for a loop and need a little extra help to keep our cool. We’re only human, after all!
High-pressure meetings, important deadlines and big presentations are examples of situations that might call for a little extra Executive oomph – so here are my tips to keep your cool and still impress the higher-ups, even when things get intense.
Take Care of Yourself so You Can Win in the Long Run
One big mistake executives frequently make is focusing too intently on the short run, forgetting that their career is a long game. If all goes well, you’ll be building and cultivating your career for decades to come!
I don’t mean that you should ignore important deadlines, but I do mean that little breaks are important. Self-care is vital to keeping your cool when tension builds in the office, so even though setting aside an hour for quiet time may feel like a “waste,” think twice before you pass it up.
What does this look like, specifically?
Tips on Ways to Relieve Stress at Work
* Exercise regularly.
Regular physical exertion has been shown to reduce blood pressure, calm nerves, give a person a sense of being grounded and confidence. Now those are qualities that will certainly come in handy when you’re squaring off with a conference room full of testy investors!
* Get away from the office.
There’s a lot to be said for spending a few days away from the office every week. Whether it’s a trip to the mountains, an afternoon by the pool, or simply spending the long weekend at home with your family – we all need time away from work. Getting much-needed time away helps executives confront big challenges without being reduced to an anxious puddle of stress.
* Find an outlet that speaks to you.
Some people respond well to other kinds of outlets: painting, writing, singing, riding a bike, reading a book. Any of these activities will generally release tension and stress.
* Remember to be grateful.
When you feel like things are just becoming too much, take a moment to feel grateful for all you have. A great job, wonderful people around you, your family and your friends are all things to be grateful for.
* Keep Your Cool, No Matter What.
In the moment it might not feel like it, but the truth is that staying calm under pressure in every situation will affect your career profoundly. There is nothing quite so foolish-looking as a person in high power losing their temper. Swearing, yelling and throwing tantrums is not the way to get results from your team – and it’s definitely not the way to earn their respect.
An Executive Leader Knows How to Respond Under Pressure
If something (or someone) is really getting on your nerves, sometimes you just have to get up and walk away. Take a 5-minute walk, breathe, and try to get a fresh perspective on the situation before you take action. Trust me, you will never regret thinking and breathing deeply before making a decision.
Your coworkers and subordinates are constantly taking cues from you as to how to communicate and behave in the office. Especially when you’re in a position of leadership, your behavior will set the tone for everyone else. If you’re stressed and angry, they’ll catch the hint that your behavior is acceptable – even desirable – and mirror it back.
Pretty soon you’ll have an office filled with stressed, high-strung people. I don’t think I need to remind you: that combination is not lucrative or productive, and it sure isn’t pleasant! Your state of mind has a big impact on the people around you. When you can stay cool and handle difficult situations deftly, you’ll do much more for your organization than you realize: not only will you move things forward constructively, but you’ll also set an example for others as to how they can handle tricky situations.