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WHY BOSSES WHO CLAIM A BIT OF STRESS IS GOOD ARE MISTAKEN

WHY BOSSES WHO CLAIM A BIT OF STRESS IS GOOD ARE MISTAKEN

I asked a company CEO a few weeks ago how he had dealt with stress as he built his business up from scratch. He answered that he regularly woke up in the middle of the night worrying about something. But he said he thrived on this. This provided his motivation every day to do everything he could to make his business a success.

We were discussing a possible mindfulness programme for his team. His concern was that it would create an office of happy-smiley people who wouldn’t have a sense of urgency about their work. Stress is good, he argued, because it makes you get off our ass and do stuff.

I politely disagreed because, in my opinion, this mistakes stress for pressure.

We feel pressure when a demand is placed upon us. Whether this has positive or negative consequences is down to our reaction.

Pressure is highly motivational. We all know the effect a deadline can have on our level of productivity. The pressure to meet your boss’ expectations, or show your client can you do the job, to prove the naysayers wrong, to better your life, feed your family, make your parents feel proud or match the achievements of your peers. All of these can be positive drivers to give us a sense of purpose and a drive to succeed.

So long as we feel able to cope with the demands placed upon us, pressure is a motivating force. Stress is when we feel unable to cope with those demands. Stress kicks in when we feel we’re sinking, everything is becoming too much. It’s the feeling of ‘I can’t handle this.’

Often this occurs when an unexpected demand is placed upon us. If we know where we stand with our workload, we can generally manage. But it’s when some a sudden directive from the boss, or demand from a client, comes in that a we can start to feel ‘this is too much.’

There’s nothing motivational about this. In fact, quite the opposite, a sense of powerlessness can be profoundly de-motivational. And it certainly does not help productivity.

 

 


 

Image: © jayfish Fotalia

 

 

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Wednesday, 12 December 2018
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