Leadership Nudge® 88 – Stress Performance Curve admin February 16, 2016

Leadership Nudge® 88 – Stress Performance Curve


The stress performance curve, sometimes referred to as the arousal performance curve can help us understand the effects of stress on our abilities and our teams’ abilities to perform simple physical or complex cognitive tasks.

Scientists have discovered that the amount of stress we have affects our ability to perform cognitive complex tasks. If there is not enough stress the work just doesn’t get done. Imagine your teenagers who sometimes need “extra” motivation. When we have too much stress – people screaming at us, yelling at us, putting the screws to us – it starts to have an impact on the job.

Interestingly, there is another curve for simple physical tasks. Simple physical tasks are where humanity comes from. These were the kinds of tasks we did during the industrial revolution. Here’s the issue; imagine running a 100-yard dash. A stadium full of people yelling at us has no negative impact. As our work has become more cognitive, that same level of stress has a more and more deleterious effect.

My leadership nudge to you this week is this:

Don’t add stress to your team, instead, make it safe by supporting and encouraging!

Let us know how it goes!