7: Balance Pressure and Motivation

Create the right environment to get the best from your team...

A degree of pressure is to be expected in any business that is striving to succeed, grow or improve. However, that pressure can create a positive or negative environment and as a leader you need to be aware of the type of pressure that you or your senior managers tend to create.

Whilst positive pressure can drive improved motivation and engagement, negative pressure can create a blame culture and defeat team working as people build silos to protect themselves from increased stress.

The signs of a negative pressure environment will be:

  • Aggressive, destructive behaviour
  • Poor internal communication
  • Individual working as opposed to group effort
  • Pursuit of short-term objectives as opposed to an agreed ambition
  • Inconsistent productivity / performance
  • No sharing of new ideas or innovations

So, how do you keep your pressure on the positive side of the scales?

When developing objectives or updating the business plan, take the time to explain to team leaders and individuals the relevance of key objectives, what initial steps need to be taken to achieve them and ask for their feedback. Ensure that every team member understands where they fit into the ‘jigsaw’ and how their effort will contribute to the overall success of the business.

If your market is fast moving, find the time to enable managers to step back periodically and take a breath to review decisions taken during a time of frenetic activity. This practice of review will allow the individuals to learn and improve the confidence in and performance of their decision making. Use this time as an informal catch up to gauge how each individual is coping and managing

Team members can work under additional stress for a period of time however, if they understand why this is necessary, they can manage their workloads accordingly and ensure their work-life balance is not out of synch. It is vital that you are seen as supportive and not the leader who is constantly looking to find fault.

The culture, or feel of your business starts with you. Reflect upon how you react to incidents; how you cope with pressure. If your team can rely upon your behaviour to remain consistent, then they can concentrate upon achieving their objectives.

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