We have also looked at the sometimes devastating effects pressure can have on people.
So what strategies are there for dealing with both the causes and consequences of negative pressure. How can a sense of equilibrium be restored and how can the business and people concerned recover?
While the way in which people react to negative pressure can vary with the personality of the sufferer, the essential root cause is a feeling of having no control.
This can be because the demands being made on a manager to achieve results are both unreasonable and unachievable or, for a business owner, because the business is experiencing cash flow or liquidity problems that are making it difficult to keep on operating.
Developing a strategy for restoring the equilibrium and recovery involves finding appropriate help and support to rectify the problems.
The temptation too often is to avoid facing up to whatever is the root cause and then leaving it too late before asking for help. For the manager it may mean confronting someone more senior about unreasonable expectations or unreasonable behaviour and in this instance it would be helpful to gather information that can be used to help make their case. Colleagues may be able to help in this situation.
For the business owner, objective analysis of the business from a turnaround and transformation advisor may help to clarify exactly where the weaknesses are and then working together to devise an action plan that will address them.
Just sharing a problem can often reduce it to more manageable proportions and help to restore both perspective and a sense of having some control over the outcome.
But this is only part of the recovery and restoration strategy. The traditional strategy of simply cutting costs may address short term financial problems but it ignores the social ones. Cost cutting as a solution often makes people feel vulnerable and can have an adverse impact on people without whose support the business may not survive.
There needs to be some kind of plan to manage the daily work flow and tasks so that the problem does not arise again. This is where staff engagement is crucial especially as negative pressure affects morale as well as behaviour.
Finally, in order to properly recover from a period of extreme negative pressure it is important to set aside time for people, to value employees and their effort, to make sure they as well as their managers are taking time off. The negative pressure may have been temporary but it will have affected everyone so that restoring a sense of balance means taking time to reassure everyone that things have changed for the better.
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