Have you ever had to work with people who cause you stress?
I’m not talking about creative stress, the stress of meeting a deadline or stress about the outcome of a project. I’m talking about stress which you can’t really explain, stress that shouldn’t even be there? The kind of energy that sucks the life out of you, leaving you drained, unmotivated and discouraged after a simple call?
Here’s what I have noticed.
Some people have the habit of creating tension. Actually, it’s not even a habit, it’s an innate behaviour, a part of who they are. They might not even realise they do it, but they do. Most of the time, they believe that this is the only way to get along in business. They are always in a rush, they are always on a deadline, the whole world revolves around what they want to get done and the only way to please them is to deal with what they want RIGHT NOW.
I’ve dealt with clients like that before and I’m sure you have to. People you succumbed to out of professional courtesy, people you wanted to please as a gesture of goodwill. It worked the first time, maybe even the second. What I can tell you for sure is that it’s not sustainable in the long run.
Just like in most relationships, boundaries are set in the beginning and both parties are liable and responsible for them. Professional relationships are no different. What you perceive as professional courtesy by fulfilling your client’s requests again and again, might actually be taken as license to do more of the same.
If this behaviour keeps on, the unavoidable will happen: drama will ensue. Whether this will be the second, third or fourth time you encounter this behaviour, you will instinctively react and there will be fireworks.
Drama and work do not work together. The nature of the modern workplace is by nature competitive, high-octane, dynamic and requires the ultimate focus and collaboration. Sparking drama-infused situations should be avoided at all costs.
To give you some context, I’ll quote my lawyer who once said to me: “Natalia, when there is a drama, remember there is something wrong.” It might seem basic and trivial but this is a piece of advice I keep with me every single time there is a “dramatic” situation. My way of dealing with it, my way of dispersing such a scenario, I ask for some time to think over. Time calms nerves, allows sensibility to overtake storing emotions and trust me when I tell you that the next morning usually things do not look as tragic.
We live in an era where everything can be scheduled, postponed and taken care of without any drama. Drama does not solve problems, it creates them. Set your professional relationship boundaries, allow time between conflicts and schedule tasks as meticulously as possible.
Stay safe, stay drama free!
By Natalia Bredneva