Dear Reader

Last month we explored the difference between pressure and stress. This month we are asking the question ‘Do you work effectively under pressure?’. We all face various demands and pressures in our lives, and as discussed last month we need a certain about of pressure in our lives to keep us stimulated and energised. But what happens when pressure and demands increase? How can you continue to work effectively and manage the pressures you face?

For those people who are concerned about the amount of pressure and stress within their organisation see the right hand column for information about carrying out stress audits.

I’d like to thank those people who were able to join me on 18th October to celebrate Grovelands' 15th birthday. I facilitated a session on Looking to the Future that people found useful in thinking about what gives them joy now and what else they want in their lives.

If you are experiencing any difficulties in your relationships with others in or out of work you might want to attend the Managing Challenging Interactions workshop on Tuesday 28th November. See the right hand column for more information.

Best wishes

Melanie Greene

Do you work effectively under pressure?

  • The ‘zone of optimal performance’ – Last month I wrote about the ‘zone of optimal performance’ where you experience just the right amount of pressure and demands to keep you stimulated and motivated. It is where you feel stretched, but not strained and stressed. By learning to work effectively under pressure you are more likely to remain within this zone, spot when you start to slip out of it and take action to get back into the zone.

Are you in the ‘zone of optimal performance’ right now?

Do you have the right amount of pressure to keep you interested and energised? Or are you under or over stimulated by the demands that you face?

  • What does working effectively under pressure mean? – there are a number of different facets that impact on our ability to work effectively under pressure. These include:

    • Our ability to manage our mood and our reactions to events around us – how resilient are you? What do you do as you go through your day to manage your mood?
    • The confidence and ability to negotiate deadlines with our managers, colleagues and clients – are you confident enough and able to negotiate timescales, resources, priorities?
    • How we go about managing our time; setting and sticking to priorities – how organised are you? Do you get easily distracted away from your main priorities?
    • The quality of our relationships with others whether they are within our team, our clients or our families – are the relationships in your life supporting you or do they create more pressure and stress?

‘When the whole situation makes you unhappy and confused, choose one thing, however small, that you would like to change.’ Anne Dickson

  • Where do you need to start to change? – I have referred to Robert Dilt’s Logical Levels Of Change model before and it can apply it to many different types of situations. Thinking about applying it to ‘working effectively under pressure’ you might want to consider the following points:

  • Environment – how organised are you? Does your environment support or hinder effective working. It could be that small changes in your environment can help you to be more efficient and effective. I remember making a small change within my office that made it much easier for me to access the phone, computer and vital files, making the process of working in my office smoother.

What changes can you make in your environment to help you to work more effectively?

Do you have the resources and people in your environment to support you?

  • Behaviour – running around like a headless chicken when deadlines loom or issues crop up won’t lead to effective working. However, taking time out either at the beginning and end of each day to reflect on what you have achieved and plan what to do next is likely to help you. I know that when I start to say to myself ‘I have not got time to stop and plan ahead’, is just the time when I need to.

Which of your behaviours help you? Which behaviours hinder you in working effectively?

‘Insanity is doing the same thing, in the same way, while expecting different results’ Chris Clarke-Epstein

  • Competence – this is about the fact that what goes on in your head – the internal pictures and messages - affects your behaviour and your competence. If when challenges occur your ‘inner dialogue’ is doom ladened and the pictures are of worst case scenarios this is going to affect how you feel and how you behave. Be aware that we frequently get what we focus on. If you tend to be negative in the face of challenges, use the following technique: look up and visualise yourself successfully handling what is on your plate. If you say ‘Yes but what if X happens’, visualise how you will deal with it.

  • Beliefs – whether these are beliefs about yourself, others or the situation in hand, they are likely to be either positive and helpful or negative and hinder or limit you in working effectively. You are what you think – so you might want to clean up your thinking and create some more empowering, supportive and positive beliefs.

What beliefs do you have that support you? What beliefs do you have that undermine you?

‘Whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you are absolutely right.’ Henry Ford

  • Spirit – this is about keeping yourself motivated, keeping a sense of perspective and lifting your spirits. What people do to lift their spirits can vary from listening to music, meditation, being in nature, being with supportive friends.

What lifts your spirits?

‘You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritful being that is your real self.’ Richard Bach

Want more Inspiration? If you want any support in finding ways to work effectively under pressure, we can offer 1:1 support, consultancy advice and group workshops to assist you in doing this. Just call 01865 377334 or email  to arrange a time to speak in confidence. For more information about Grovelands visit our website:

Feel free to pass this issue of ‘Inspire’ onto others – if you have been forwarded this issue and would like to receive your own copy each month, click here to subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Managing Challenging Interactions workshop Tuesday 28th November

Do you find that in some situations you:

  • Can’t say ‘no’ without feeling guilty
  • End up either being passive or getting aggressive
  • Feel guilty asking for what you need and want
  • Feel like you are being taken advantage of
  • Experience difficulty in getting people to co-operate and carry out agreed tasks
  • Lose your confidence which affects your ability to communicate effectively

What is challenging for one person might be easy for someone else. However for all of us there are certain situations or people that we find challenging in terms of managing interactions.

This one day workshop on Managing Challenging Interactions has been run in-house within a number of organisations with great success. This is the first time it is being offered on a public basis.

This workshop will be different from other public workshops as I am offering follow up email coaching support to assist you in putting the ideas into practice (plus the option of telephone coaching).

The cost is £100 inc. VAT and located just north of Oxford within easy reach of motorways, with free parking.

For more information or to book a place email  or call Melanie on 01865 377334



How can Grovelands help you?

In each issue of ‘Inspire’ I will describe a different aspect of our work.

Stress audits – we have helped a number of organisations to assess the demands, pressures and stresses that their staff are experiencing. This is a delicate topic and therefore people need to feel comfortable about opening up about what is really happening. We recommend that any initiatives come from the top of the organisation. Management need to show that they are supportive of the idea. As well as modelling the desired behaviour that might be required to manage pressure effectively and prevent and deal with stress when it happens.

For more information email  or call Melanie on 01865 377334



Look out for December’s issue of ‘Inspire’, which is all about ‘Surviving and thriving during the festive season’. Some people love the festive season, others dread it. How can we make the most of the festive season and start the New Year in high spirits.



Grovelands provides:

Consultancy advice

1:1 coaching and mentoring

in-house and public workshops

to individuals, partnerships, SMEs and national organisations.

See  for more details

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