A major aspect of our role as leaders and managers is the inspiration, facilitation and support of optimal performance/results in others. This requires a fundamental understanding of the relationship between individual learning styles, unique physiology, psychological stress and performance.
The Inverted-U model (also known as the Yerkes-Dodson Law), created by psychologists Robert Yerkes and John Dodson in the early 1900’s continues to be relevant today; it provides an overview of the relationship between stress (arousal) and performance. According to the Yerkes-Dodson model, peak performance is achieved when people experience an optimal level of pressure. Too much or too little pressure/challenge serves to negatively impact motivation and performance. Under optimal performance conditions, we are motivated to work through a challenging situation and have the requisite psychological and skill resources to rise to the challenge. The psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi detailed this state of optimal performance as the “flow” state, a state where we are stretched in terms of challenge, are motivated to meet the challenge and possess the requisite skills to master the challenge. In this highly focused and productive state, our best work unfolds. Talented leaders and managers understand this relationship, along with what constitutes the optimal and facilitative level of challenge for their direct and indirect reports. Additionally, they are aware of and intentionally work to avoid the impact of too little or two much pressure on staff. This awareness and approach serves to consistently motivate others to achieve optimal results in support of organizational goals.
What are the conditions that facilitate your optimal performance?
For related posts, check out the following links:
Optimal Performance Fundamentals