- Posted Monday December 7, 2015
It is clear that the pace of change in primary care is more likely to increase rather than decrease; and that the financial envelope will at best stay the same, although it is more likely to shrink.
With all these ingredients the likelihood is that the environment within a practice is likely to become more pressured into the future. But can pressure be good for you if you harness it correctly? For some people it can be a positive thing and pushes people towards good performance.
I recently delivered a training session aimed at equipping a practice team with the tools and techniques to help them better manage pressure in the workplace. One of the delegates had fostered an aspiration with her team that the practice should strive to be a ‘Diamond Practice’. One which thrives in pressure, the way pressure creates diamonds in nature.
We must remember that it’s not the pressure that you are presented with but how you deal with it. Often pressure can become stress when not dealt with correctly. There are many ways managers can prevent pressure become stress:
Redefine what it means to you
Try and change the way view and interpret pressure. Instead of considering it a threat, look at it as a challenge that can help you build skills and character and better equip you for the future.
Negative thoughts should be replaced with positive ones. All too quickly we can let negative thoughts weigh us down and work us up. Take the time each day to think of the positive things you are doing and things you enjoy about the job.
Take a minute to breathe
In the “How to deal with Pressure at Work” course that I deliver we explore how individuals can develop coping strategies for dealing with pressure and one of the most popular is a breathing exercise - we refer to as “4-7-8”.
To perform this technique, you need to sit comfortably in a quiet space and exhale through your mouth while making a ‘whoosh’ sound, before inhaling quietly through your nose to the count of four. You then need to hold your breath for seven and exhale again to the count of eight. Repeat this three times.
Understand that there are things you can’t control
You need to have a good grasp of what you can and cannot control, and not let the things you can’t get the better of you. You can’t control many of the things happening around you, but you can control your reaction to them. If something out of your hands makes things difficult like budget cuts or a shortage of GPs, you can only do the best you can. Being able to understand that and keep your head held high knowing that you’re doing the best job possible makes a huge difference in preventing pressure turning into stress.
If you put enough pressure on a piece of coal, then what do you ultimately get? A diamond.
The reality is that is that pressure makes people who they are and can be harnessed for good..
You may consider any comparison with a diamond just a simple metaphor, but it’s true. It may not seem fun having the weight of the world on your shoulders, but it’s an opportunity to grow, develop and make a real difference. You could well become the real diamond in your Practice.
If you would like help harnessing pressure in your practice, consider Thornfield’s Managing Pressure at Work workshop. The half day or full day workshop covers the causes of pressure and ways of reducing and thriving from it.