Pressure is very popular in managing people these days. Yes, I’ve said managing on purpose. Because, the true manager needs to lead people, not only manage them. In modern business, pressure is one of the most used methods when managers want to achieve some specific goal, especially in sales.

However, you need to be very careful when using this tactics. Why? The reason is so simple. If you want to set your effort in one direction, you need to push. Simply, push in a certain direction. For example, if you want to achieve more in sales at some moment, you will push your sales force in that direction. But, you must be aware of two things:

  • Pressure shouldn’t be constant in a very long period. Why? For example, you can put a balloon in your hands and try to squeeze. Part of the balloon will go in one direction. If you are competent enough, you can squeeze in the direction you want. But, if your pressure is constant and in every direction, very soon the balloon will burst. In so many pieces.
  • Pressure needs to be very good focused and time balanced. In other cases, you will spend so much effort with almost zero effect. If your result isn’t good enough, you cannot just push even harder. Because, after a certain point you’ll get the totally opposite effect.

Let’s analyze this situation a bit. If you are a manager and you feel the pressure about the result, you need to be a leader first. You need to stop for a while and think. OK, you feel very strong pressure on your back. But, you need to transfer this pressure very carefully to your team. Otherwise, you won’t achieve your goals, and you will feel even more pressure instead.

You need to use emotional intelligence and try to lead your team via emotions. You need to create self-pressure in your team, and your result will just explode. But first, you need to know your team very well. You need to know key motivation drivers for every member of your team and light up immediately.

Let me share one example from real life. I was in my field visit and one of my managers hadn’t done one important task. He didn’t have any sales evaluation of his team. I know that person very well and I knew his motivational driver. He likes competitions. I’ve had two options:

  • To be very direct, and give him hard feedback
  • To be a true leader, and challenge him to do this.

I chose second option, of course. I just told him:

“Come on, you want to be a role model for your team? Also, you want to be a role model for your peers, because you are so experienced? Less experienced leaders have more evaluation than you.”

That was enough. I’ve created self-pressure, and he has done two evaluations till the end of the day. Simply, he likes to compete.

That self-pressure has finally become healthy pressure after all! And your team didn’t feel that pressure, just call for the action, but in some specific way.

There are so many ways to act in a crisis situation. Pressure is good, but don’t forget that self-pressure is much better and you can use it more often. Your team will be healthier and more productive than ever before.

Of course, you need to use self-pressure on yourself too. BE A ROLE MODEL!

(inspired by two real managers)