Performance anxiety has been bothering almost everyone in its different avatars or manifestations, if not visibly then subliminally. Few symptoms of this being indecisiveness, procrastination, black-outs, mental anxiety, dis-orientation at work and resulting stress disorders.
I’m writing this blog post with the assumption that you are working in the field of your choice and not compulsion. Atleast, you are clear in continuing your career in the current field. Else the very basis of performance anxiety becomes your personal interest to perform, since your career is anchored with the wrong personal alignment.
What is that truly creates anxiety? Is it the performance pressure or the Result? I believe neither of them, as both are the by-products. Following factors are the key to avoid the above symptoms
- Clarity – Purpose and Methods
- Sense of Value and Impact
This is fundamental for any performance expectation. Clarity in purpose and Goals are essential for high performance. It not only makes performance measurable but also helps in clear assessment of gaps and course corrections hence creating a highly transparent environment in tracking the progress. Clarity in methods or methodology is highly desirable but may not be essential to start, because there can be projects or work that is being done for the first time and hence no benchmarking is available. Also a flexible methodology can leave scope for innovation and research. But that doesn’t mean that it can always be left in this state of affairs. Ultimately after all the research and development one needs to establish a clear paths and clear accountabilities to reach the goals. One of the primary reasons for performance anxiety is unclear goals and expectations. That further leads to unclear accountabilities and eventually ambiguity. Setting clear goals, clear accountabilities, clear authorities and clear deliverables will not only foster decision making but also minimize supervision and hence reducing the lead times.
Sense of Value and Impact
Clear accountabilities set the foundation for personal clarity, but this is not enough to motivate people to perform at peak. It is the sense of value they bring on the table through their contribution to the bigger picture that creates motivation by generating ownership and sense of belongingness towards the outcomes. Knowing the impact of one’s work can generate a great sense of accomplishment and importance for the job in hand. This is best explained by Robin Sharma in his work “Lead without Title”. Measuring your work in terms of Impact rather than KRAs gives lot of personal power and also the power to command a deserving remuneration.
Salary and monitory rewards is the bottom-line for everyone, hence getting a fair compensation and a fair performance reward system are the essential frameworks for an organization. For an individual it is important to make use of these platforms to his/her maximum benefits. We often underestimate the power of recording one’s work and achievements periodically and then struggle pitching ourselves during the performance discussions. Firstly recording your work regularly and secondly ability to present its impact on the strategic goals or common goals is what creates a strong projection of a person who is not only conscious of his personal performance but also aligned with the organizational goals. Indeed, we find many people leaving their performance discussions to the mercy of their Managers, expecting that they know what their team is working on. Honestly, it’s us to be blamed for such a casual and unimportant treatment to our own efforts that have been made in the entire year.
All the above perspectives, when in place create the positive motivation, momentum and environment for peak performance. Hence take ownership in your hand and seek clarity if it is not given to you. Understand the impact of your job and how it fits the bigger picture and with the support of these facts seek a compensation that you rightfully deserve and desire.
Sending Love, Laughter and Joy