Personal Effectiveness and Responsibility
To many people, modern living seems to be faster than ever with an increasing need to juggle tasks, meet more targets and deadlines than ever before and just try to fit as many commitments into the day or the week as possible. As this little pressure diagram suggests, this means that most of us have to perform a careful “balancing act”. On the one side are usually improvement goals (which in a business environment are often about being faster, cheaper, and operating with less complexity than before. And on the other side are what we may lose as a result of these changes when they come about (again in a business climate these are often about loss of friendship, knowledge or just general fear of “the new”). Of course, we could also add personal items to both sides of the “see-saw” in this diagram. For example, a person may have a goal to lose weight or get fitter on one side, but in so doing cuts down a few visits to restaurants to meet friends (and stays home instead) meaning that his or her social life may suffer).
What all this adds up to is an almost constant feeling of pressure that we must all strive to manage.
It almost goes without saying that leaders of people have to deal not only with their own pressure, but also with the pressure of the individuals they manage. This may be done well by many leaders but when it isn’t, the manager may they often put additional pressure on their colleagues and subordinates and create a “domino effect” in some cases-where pressure is simply passed along.
Naturally pressure (or stress as it’s often called) is experienced differently by everyone: In others words, what causes one person to feel pressured or under stress won’t be pressure for someone else. In fact, the same level pressure may actually motivate some individuals to perform at his or her best. What this essentially means then is that it’s not so much the pressure itself that is the issue but the way in which a particular individual reacts to it (and we do often have a choice here). We therefore need to find a balance between enough pressure to keep us interested and excited about the task we are expected or wanting to do but not so much pressure than its overwhelms us or makes us feel stressed out.
In summary then good pressure keeps us on our toes and helps us to perform at or near our best. But bad pressure not only tips our see-saw too much in the wrong direction (so that we can’t balance things any more) but may mean that we seek to put bad pressure on others (unnecessarily). Ultimately then we need to be fully aware of what impact any specific pressure is like to have at any one time and to appreciate the difference between motivating and harmful pressure. If we can do this early enough, we will make our own lives and those around us considerably better.