Is pressure bad?

I just started to write a guide to help supervisors create a positive organizational culture.

After describing in the guide the negative effects that emotional and financial pressures can have on ethical behavior, I asked myself “Is all pressure bad?”

I got stuck. I knew from experience that pressure had helped me reach some of my most difficult goals. But I was also familiar with the science showing how pressure leads to fraud and how it destroys adaptive performance.

So I called a friend at Vega Factor and asked him the same question. His thoughts got me unstuck. He offered the following: “Pressure is just pressure. It’s not good or bad. The real question is: how do you respond to it? Do you radiate it (i.e. make it worse and infect your team with it) or do you leverage it (i.e. use it as an opportunity to learn, to drive change, to reset)?

I could almost hear Hamlet say “for nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Back to writing my guide.

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