That ongoing study, by Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile, also demonstrates a creativity “hangover”, where pressure diminishes creativity for the next two days as well.”Time pressure stifles creativity because people can’t deeply engage with the problem,” Professor Amabile told Pawliw-Fry for the book he co-authored, How to Perform Under Pressure: The science of doing your best when it matters most.People get confused between “getting stuff done” and “doing good work”.
An internationally renowned thought leader on the subject of leadership, performance and managing under pressure, Dr. JP Pawliw-Fry is a performance coach to Olympic athletes and Fortune 100 companies alike. Melding state-of-the-art research with powerful inspiration to create thought-provoking and moving presentations, JP engages audiences with a tailored combination of research and storytelling, and inspires everyone to take their professional and personal lives to the next level. The Financial Review talked to JP about how nobody performs better under pressure: they just think they do.
Do you believe that you perform at your best when under pressure? When a deadline is rushing at you, the adrenalin is pumping and momentous decisions have to be made on the spot?
Well, you’re wrong. Nobody performs better under pressure: they just think they do.
Performance coach Dr J. P. Pawliw-Fry says pressure diminishes our judgment, decision-making, attention, and performance – no matter the task.
Around 67 per cent of people believe pressure helps them rise to the occasion, he says. A study of 12,000 people shows they believe they are more creative when they work towards a severe deadline, yet daily questionnaires of those same people showed they were less creative when “working against the clock”.
Pressure is a situation where you perceive that something at stake is dependent on the outcome of your performance. Stress relates to the feeling we have when we feel we don’t have the resources or ability to meet demands.With pressure, success is the goal. Stress requires a reduction in demands.Seeing pressure as a threat undermines self-confidence, elicits fear of failure, impairs short-term memory, attention and judgment, and spurs impulsive behaviour.
TIRED, INATTENTIVE AND FORGETFUL
“That is a huge opportunity for organisations to take advantage of. Women deal with pressure differently to men. Men tend to isolate themselves and go on their own. Our study found that women tend and befriend; they to reach out to other people and talk about it.”Men, what are we waiting for? We are so afraid to be vulnerable. Men have more work to do on this in open decision-making and taking in more data.”Pawliw-Fry has isolated the 10 per cent of people from his study who perform best under pressure (being promoted more regularly and advancing their careers) and found that they were able to manage themselves and the pressure better than others around them. Here are some of the strategies they use:
HOW TO HANDLE PRESSURE BETTER
1. You don’t need to be perfect. Expect to make a mistake under pressure and, when it happens, you could view it as “water off a duck’s back”, rather than a performance-killing disappointment.