What’s the difference between stress and pressure in business?

stressed businessman 2 Huffington PostAsk a business owner how things are going and they are more than likely to use the words “stress” or “pressure” interchangeably in their response.

But, according to Dr Hendrie Weisinger, Ph.D, a well-known US psychologist who has worked with many leading businesses and professional organisations, there is a significant difference between the two words.

He argues that a stressful situation is one where there are too many demands and not enough resources available to meet them, whether these are time, money or energy.

A pressurised situation is one where the outcome of something depends on an individual’s, or a team’s performance.

Stress can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed, while pressure tends to cause anxiety.

So at this time of year, many in the retail sector are under pressure but if they have got their forecasts right they will have the resources, mainly staff and stock, to cope and meet demand.

However, for the struggling business experiencing cash flow difficulties, the situation is one of stress.  Whatever the causes, a lack of cash or a dramatic decline in orders, the issue is one of survival and how to continue operating without some action.

The problem is that feelings of being overwhelmed can lead to inertia when the last thing that the business owner facing such difficulties should do is nothing.

We will be looking at how to deal with stress, and stressful situations, throughout this month.

(picture courtesy of Huffington Post)

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