Dealing with challenges in logistics

Reading time: approx. 4 minutes
Text: Juliane Gringer
Photos: Maria Senz, Pixaby

Transport and logistics decision-makers are under a lot of pressure. Mental and movement coach Maria Senz explains how they can deal with this pressure and even use it productively.

Ms. Senz, how can we best cope when under pressure?
I think the first step is to develop an awareness of your strengths: What can I do, what do I know, what skills do I bring to the table? And on the other hand, I find it helpful to identify when exactly the pressure arises: what are the triggers; in which situations is it present? In principle, pressure can also be useful. For example, if I have to beat a certain time in a sprinting race to qualify, my athletic, tactical and technical skills should make that possible. This is the same in team sports: if you want your football team to be promoted, you need to bring your A game.
In terms of free time, you might be worried about embarrassing yourself in front of your teammates by performing worse, right?
Yes, and I feel that also plays into the question of who or what causes the pressure. On the one hand, I might be responsible for this pressure myself by having a certain expectation of myself. In my industry, for example the coaching team, I also feel pressure. And in professional life, it might be the managers in the company or the employees exerting this pressure. Just like it might be people who I have a personal relationship with, such as my partner, parents or friends. So I feel the expectation from outside that I have to perform well at work – which can also put me under pressure.
Some things are things you cannot influence: in sport you might get injured, and in logistics we have to somehow deal with the current bottlenecks. How do you recommend we deal with these problems?
It is important to realise that there are some dependencies that are natural. There are bottlenecks in transport and logistics, and some things can only be changed by politics or otherwise the problem will simply persist. I have an influence on all this in that I can find a way to deal with the situation. Getting angry about it is a waste of time and energy. Instead, I can concentrate on the things I have control over. For example, your own corporate culture is an influencing factor: if my employees are happy, they are motivated and develop ideas much more easily. I recommend that entrepreneurs think things over a little longer: it is often too quickly concluded that nothing can be done about a situation. Thinking about it a bit longer might bring different conclusions: if energy prices rise, for example, I can think about alternative energy sources. And become more independent in the process.

»If energy prices rise, I can start thinking about alternatives. The consequence: independence.«

Maria Senz, Mental and Movement Coach

That’s exactly what’s difficult when under pressure: thinking freely and looking for new solutions. How can this blockage be solved?
There is firstly this physical sensation that our heads are full or that there is a heavy load on our shoulders. And there are thoughts like “I can’t do it!” which trap us in a vicious cycle of failure, frustration, fear and insecurity. When I have doubts about myself, a stop sign helps: I consciously use this to stop worries from making me freeze up. I might, for example, say “Stop!” to myself in my head or even out loud and also use my body, consciously turning around or looking somewhere else to redirect my focus. I then combine the thought “I can do it!” with my new line of sight. This puts me back in a position where I can think more clearly and decide what I can do next. I become capable of taking action again. With the athletes I coach, I often also work with them on a body-connected reset button that they can press to refocus in stressful moments like competitions.
Why should managers use such tools?
Pressure generates counterpressure. And if I, as a boss, approach my employees with pressure, their stress increases in turn. Conversely, if I as a leader radiate calmness, for example, I give a certain security to the system and can generate motivation and bring joy with my actions. The basic idea behind it is, as a manager, what do I want to achieve with my employees? What mood do I want to create in them so that they can perform at their best?
Can pressure be a good thing?
Pressure can also be an incentive: many people need the challenge to deliver an outstanding performance. And that’s perfectly fine for anyone who reacts positively under pressure. But for others, it can be a real burden. And if pressure causes us to lose momentum, it becomes counterproductive. So it’s good to know how pressure affects you, so you can look after yourself in the right way. Even those who find pressure motivating should give themselves enough downtime so that they remain productive long-term. Incidentally, this is what makes my job so exciting: every person is an individual and an expert on what works for them. Everyone brings their own unique experiences and strengths and these need to be used consciously to remain stable and strong.

»When a goal is scored in football, everyone cheers, jumps up and shouts in excitement. We know the scene, and it’s really moving! I think logisticians could take some inspiration from this: create moments like this and celebrate your successes.«

Maria Senz, Mental and Movement Coach

What can the transport industry learn from sport?
Many things, but I think of one thing above all: celebrate your successes! When a goal is scored in football, everyone cheers, jumps up and shouts in excitement. We know the scene, and it’s really moving! I think logisticians could take some inspiration from this, in terms of celebrating their successes more and getting more of a sense of how well everything is already going. And of course let off some steam in the process.

PERSONAL DETAILS

Maria Senz is a mental and movement coach with a focus on sports: she supports people in achieving their personal and professional goals. She studied Business Administration with a focus on logistics and worked for 12 years at Rolls-Royce, the BMW Group and the Daimler Group, among others, before she trained as a systemic personal & business coach. She works primarily with athletes, coaches, sports associations and educational institutions, but also together with companies. Maria Senz belongs to the Die Sportpsychologen (The Sports Psychologists) network. She has always been passionate about sport. She works as a beach volleyball trainer and kite-surfing instructor. Her personal goal: in 2024 she wants to accompany a sports team to the Olympic Games as a mental coach.

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