Performance stress- 18 August 2015

Future work behaviour for 18 August 2015.

“Performance stress”

One of the primary stressors on job is your competence to perform well the tasks that are entrusted to you by way of your job profile. If you find yourself deficient in either one or more than one of them you are likely to face stress.

A middle level executive suffered severe anxiety pangs with loss of sleep with sweating in the limbs and with chest pain. He assumed that he getting into a condition of a heart ailment and rushed to the doctor. All the parameters were normal as the tests verified. His family panicked with the continuation of the symptoms. After the second round of tests the doctor referred him for psychological diagnosis. For a psychologist such symptoms as mentioned by him are the most common syndrome for an anxiety disorder. With a systematic programme of practical meditation for a few months along with analysis of his mind and his emotions he was back on his feet with full vigour. The interesting point to emphasise was that the area of performance anxiety that he was experiencing was related to the news of his promotion! The promotion which should be a welcoming proposition in fact acted in a reverse way as a threat to him. The threat came surprisingly from the task of public speaking which we identified with great difficulty. He informed us that public speaking would become compulsorily a routine function if he took the impending promotion. The guy was under the perception of severe threat of having to speak to his team members, motivate them and hold meetings routinely. He being an introverted shy fellow he found himself worrying about it but had suppressed this fear. This suppression of emotions led to development of symptoms in his mind and created the anxiety disorder in his body.

We know the toughest task for anyone in the world is speaking in public effectively and no leader can escape from this responsibility. Whoever aspires for a leadership position has to learn the art of public speaking. Hence it can be a great source of stress for many. The idea is to identify the need and start work on it by building up skills rather than getting overwhelmed by it and falling ill. There are many stories some humorous ones about people getting panic stricken by the idea of public speaking. We know in social groups too when people are requested or entrusted with the task of compeering the programme they somehow just vanish by absenting themselves or develop stomach aches and excuse themselves.

Another type of performance stressor we encounter often is the fact of meeting deadlines. Many executives report that doing work within strict deadlines is killing. In the soft ware programming sector and other outsourcing firms that cater to customer’s demands can be pressurised into performing within narrow time margins which can take a severe toll on the health of employees. There is a humane level of speed at which we can work. There is also a limit to the number of hours we can work. People cannot work 24 hours a day for several days without rest. Physical strain and mental fatigue acts give rise to various psychological and physical symptoms as illness strikes them with continued stress.

One young executive who was doing quite well for herself in a corporate house and rose relatively fast in the ladder as the appreciations poured in developed a peculiar set of symptoms. She developed a stiff back as the right side muscles of the back ached which sort of paralysed her movements. Throughout the day she had a job that entailed sitting in front of the computer and at the telephone which was an endless sort of work for her. She carried the load home as well as she fretted over the unfinished tasks. The doctors packed her off for a month long leave and asked her to recuperate fully before joining back. She never recovered actually and the malady still remains a mystery. She says she liked the job profile but we have our doubts about it.


There are many factors on the job that can work as stressors. People need to identify them very carefully and become aware of them. The options to deal with them are not many too, one has to learn the task in which the deficiency is noticed and also learn to de-stress oneself. There are various ways of de-stressing one-self according to individual preferences. Each one can choose the method which suits their temperament and makes them feel the relief. There is no uniform code for that.

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