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There is a constant dilemma for most business owners that has come up a lot lately: how much pressure do I put on my team members to perform – especially new ones?

It’s a great problem to have – your team is growing so that silent complexity is increasing, and your new team members are looking up to you for guidance. This a moment of stretch for you as a leader.

Let me give you a framework to help you do this particular stretch in a way that will let you grow the right way.

If you ask me, the strongest managers are the ones who are able to bring out the best performance from their team members. The ones who know how to manage activities, and push their team to just the right level to get them to perform at their best.

If you look at this framework, it’s not just about pushing them to some arbitrary level. It’s about discovering at what pressure each individual’s peak performance lies and then keeping them at that level.

Remember, you and your business are only as good as your team members and how well they’re playing the game. So, make sure you are taking ownership of that part of your business and be focused on helping them to be their best.

Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text:

Hi. this is Shweta from London Coaching Group. We were recently having a client Implementation and Accountability Call and one of the business owners raised a very interesting question. Michael said, “I’ve got a new motivated team member and I’m just wondering how much of pressure I should put, or how much should I push this team member just to make sure that we’re getting even better performance but without jeopardizing the current performance?” Now, it’s a great problem to have and a great question to ask.

I will share with you a very simple framework which I shared with Michael along with the distinction that you need to make as a business owner especially when you are growing your team and you want to make sure that your team is performing at the best level possible.

Team Performance vs. Pressure Framework

Let’s build a chart. On the horizontal axis put the pressure – i.e. how much should I push my team member? On the vertical axis put the performance. What we really want is the performance to go up as we push our team member.

If you look at the curve or the graph, the way it works generally speaking is as you increase pressure, the performance goes up and now, it’s dependent on each person – how much pressure they can take before the curve starts changing. What that means is that as you increase pressure, a point comes for pretty much most of the individuals where they are at their peak, they’re performing at their best level possible. When you apply pressure even more, then the performance actually starts dropping.

Which Point of Pressure Should You Be At?

The question is, there are three critical points here, so at which point should the manager or the business owner be?

Let me show you.

Imagine there’s a point just before the peak performance, there’s a point at the apex of the peak of performance and then there’s a point just a little after the peak where performance is dropping as pressure increases. Let’s name these, A, B and C respectively.

Now, where should you be as the business owner or as the leader, as the manager for this team member? Should you be at point A level where you’re putting good pressure and yes the performance has gone up or maybe at B, the peak level? Or somewhere around C where you can see that the performance is now going down with increased pressure?

Just think for yourself because I did ask this question to this client and he said, “Shweta, I think I should be at point B and that’s my role.” And I said, “Hmmm, you’re quite close to the right point but it’s not the point. The point is here.”

Why You Should Push Past Peak Performance

It might surprise you a little bit that I had indicated point C as where you should be. But think about it like this – our role, your role as the team leader, or as someone who is managing his team member, is to make sure that you’re pushing this person enough so that you can know where is that point where the performance starts declining. If you were to stay at point B, you don’t actually know if the graph could go up even further – you don’t know if there is still untapped performance you could be pushing your team member to reach.

You can only know the peak level when you can actually go beyond that peak level. When you can see the strain, when you can see the performance is declining, or the person is not getting into too much of this comfort zone.

A Constant Balance of Pressure and Performance

So, this is the balance. As soon as you realize that, “Okay this is the point now; there is a strain happening.” You bring the pressure back to the peak level and it’s not a one time thing. It’s a constant adjustment. It’s a constant movement. It’s a constant assessment. But this is where the challenge and the support bit lies and that’s what you have to do as a really good manager that you should be comfortable to challenge people.

Yes, the performance can go up and challenge them even beyond their peak level just to see if that is their peak performance level. And when you can assess that they are getting under strain which is not helping them with their performance then yes, go back to supporting them and get them to the level where they’re doing the best that they possibly can. And of course, the business is performing at the best possible level as well.

I hope this makes you think as to where you are with your team members. Remember, you never coach a team, you never manage a team; you always manage the activities of an individual.

So, where are you with each one of your team members, are you at point A? Point B, at the peak level? Or are you at point C? Assess for yourself because remember, the business is as good as each of the team members and how well they’re playing the game.

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