Career Trends: How to deal with the pressure of increased responsibility at work

4 min read

Edition: May 7th, 2021
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS

Landing a new job, a promotion or anything that brings new responsibilities is always going to come with a steep learning curve. (Image Credit: Freepik)

Excerpts from article by Melody Wilding, published in Forbes

A new job, a new promotion, a new project – you dream about these goals and work hard to make them a reality. But you may also feel a degree of inner resistance. That’s because you know that stepping into more responsibility will bring increased pressure. You worry about facing new challenges.

You may wonder if you have the emotional fortitude to withstand the pressure of your new opportunity. The good news? You absolutely do.

Here are strategies that will help you rise to the occasion like the top-performer you are:

1. Shift from execution to empowerment

When you step into more responsibility, you’ll likely have to remove yourself from the day-to-day execution you’re used to and move towards strategy and people management. Instead of being the one to do the work, you’re the one empowering and influencing the people to do what needs to be done.

This isn’t always easy. Sensitive strivers who find themselves with more responsibility can get sucked into over-functioning. They take on so many of the day-to-day tasks themselves that their team doesn’t learn how to function independently. In order to succeed, the expectations you hold yourself to need to change because what got you here, won’t get you there.

2. Recognise what others see in you

You may feel paranoid that senior leaders are judging you during your morning meeting or that your boss is judging you for not having an answer. But you’re the only one who knows you feel that way. Everyone in your orbit sees you as the competent, capable professional you are.

So try to reconsider how other people actually see you. This can be eye-opening, particularly when you discover that they’ve picked up on strengths that you didn’t even realise you had. Knowing that other people think you excel in certain areas can make it far easier for you to call on those strengths when you need to.

3. Root into your resilience

Facing ambiguous challenges, feeling overwhelmed because everything is new, getting your bearings with new tasks, new procedures, new people —none of this is unchartered territory for you.

Recognising that you’ve coped in difficult situations before and rooting into those past experiences where you’ve overcome challenges can give you a blueprint for mindset shifts and habits that will serve you now.

4. Hang out in your comfort zone for a while

Many people come into new positions of responsibility and immediately put pressure on themselves to make big things happen right away. However, your comfort zone is listening and observing, which is exactly what’s required when encountering increased pressure. Spend learning as much as you can from different leaders and stakeholders so you can get a pulse on relationships, dynamics, and how decisions are made.

You’ll find that time spent absorbing data about your surroundings and the context of the organisation, project, and team is time well invested in the long-term. When you synthesise the information you gather during this period, you’ll be perfectly placed to spot opportunities, create a strategic plan, and develop relationships.

5. Boost your confidence

Comparison is a confidence killer, so be aware of times that you start judging yourself against others who have different traits and characteristics than you, and take a moment to focus on your own strengths. Reflect on what you’re doing well instead of concentrating solely on areas in which you need to improve.

There are times when it can be helpful to step into someone else’s shoes. If you’re facing a challenge and you’re convinced you can’t do it, pretend you can. Suspend your disbelief for a second by thinking of someone you admire, someone who shares your values, and imagine how they would act, what they would say, or what they would do. Then realise that because their values are your values, you’re every bit as capable as they are.

Landing a new job, a promotion, or anything that brings new responsibilities is always going to come with a steep learning curve. So the fact that you’re feeling overwhelmed is not a reflection on you or your ability to handle the change.

Allow yourself to ease into the challenges and know that the pressure won’t always feel this intense. Above all, remember that you worked really hard to get to where you are now, so take a moment to congratulate yourself and enjoy it.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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