To: Promotion Strategists
Not everyone knows how to stay calm at work, but I bet you even fewer people know why it’s important. I’ve got good news for you though. By the end of this letter, you’re going to know why you should always appear to be calm and composed at work – even when you’re not.
Why it’s important to learn how to stay calm at work
Staying calm at work may sound impossible, especially for those of you in high-stress jobs like myself. If you’re trying to advance your career then keeping your calm face on is a must! Let me explain why using an example of a customer support rep dealing with angry customers, which I’m sure most of you can relate to.
Let’s say that you work at a software company and your software starts failing for all of your customers. You’re on the support team. You’re getting calls left and right with angry customers saying angry customer things. You start to panic and lose your cool. You begin venting to coworkers about how bad your software is and how much your company sucks. Even worse, you may start getting angry back at your customers and saying some of these things to them. You’re having a bad day, and if you can’t get it under control now then you’re going to need to fix the career damage with a lot of career management later on.
Now, let’s look at it from your co-workers’ points of view. You’re panicking just like them. You’re no better than them when things get stressful. You want your coworkers to look at you as a leader. People that look like leaders become leaders.
Now, let’s look at this from your boss’s point of view. Your boss, the leader of your team, is ultimately responsible for your customer’s happiness so that your company can keep them as customers, earning their dollars, so that your company can reinvest their money to grow, to keep paying you, to keep those new customers, to keep growing, to keep you, to get more customers, then keep paying you. It’s a whole nice little circle when it works well. But, back to your boss. Your boss needs to protect its customers at all cost. Sure, they should be looking after your happiness at all times, but without customers, there’s definitely no you. So, if you’re getting upset and spreading negativity then you’re making more work for your boss. Your boss is now trying to fix the issue and make sure you’re that you’re not doing more damage to the team at the same time. That’s really tough. It’s times like this where bosses appreciate the ones on their teams that keep their chins up and work hard through tough times. They’ll later refer to the people that stay calm and work hard as “life savers”. You want to be a life saver.
When a manager is promoted and asked who should fill their old role they think back to challenging times and who handled that situation the best on their team. You want it to be you.
People look to leaders when times are tough
Using the same example, let’s imagine that things were different. Let’s say that the software started failing and calls started coming in, and when your boss got involved they saw that everyone on the support team was getting flustered and panicking – except for you! You are leading the team through this stressful time because you took a couple of breaths and put everything into perspective. You’re not dying. You’re going to be fine. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in everyone else’s anxiety, but instead, you see this as an opportunity to show how hard of a worker you are and that you’re a leader. Getting noticed at work as a leader is the best way to get promoted fast. If you can make your coworkers recognize you as a leader then your manager and other managers will follow.
How to look like a leader
To get noticed as a leader you need to look like a leader. Here are a couple of strategies that I used to get noticed as a leader early in my career to go from an intern to managing 10 people within a year:
- Always keep a calm face in the office
- Smile while walking around the office – people want to be around other positive people
- Don’t bring your drama from your personal life into the office. If your boss thinks that you cannot manage your own personal life then how can they trust you to manage a team?
- Dress the same way or better than your manager does
You may be wondering how to stay calm at work when that’s not who you are naturally. The truth is, it isn’t easy to do, but that’s why if you can keep calm and work hard when times get tough you’ll advance your career. If you’re not naturally a calm person, then check out Headspace. It’s a great app for meditation and they have some great exercises for what to do when you get stressed at work.
So there you have it. If you want to advance your career, put more effort into staying calm at work.
– Your Job Coach, The Promotion Strategist