Stress Can Stifle Creativity and Performance

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

William James, Philosopher, and Psychologist.

Stress in the workplace can have damaging effects, such as stifling creativity and risk aversion.

When we operate under pressure, we shift into survival mode and in this mode of perception, we can have a much harder time thinking creatively and seeing things with a broader, longer-term lens.

Similarly, when your associates are stressed, they tend to avoid taking risks and have a hard time thinking creatively, which ultimately affects their potential.

So what can we do to help reduce stress in the workplaces?

Start by building a collaborate culture:

Communicate that each person is valued and that you are there to support them in their efforts. It’s a big deal for humans to feel part of a group that they feel kindship and love towards. This insight is why cult brands have strong corporate cultures and at the same time are loved by their customers.

Help with prioritization:

Maybe it is time to do less. Sometimes, stress is generated more by the volume of work that needs to get done than by the work itself. Contributing to the problem is that everything may seem essential and a top priority. Help your team understand what needs to get done when so they can approach their work comfortably and systematically.

Offer choices:

Wherever possible, give your team a choice. The more we can choose, the more in control and less stressed we typically feel.

Provide instructions:

New work can be hard for everyone. If you know that a particular project may be challenging, offer training and support, whether internal or at a live or online training. Companies like Zappos, Disney and others offer courses to help you develop critical skills with practical methods.

Make work fun:

Social events, group activities, and team-building exercises are some of the ways to break down walls, bring folks together, and lighten the mood.


Sometimes we hold onto stress without even realizing it or knowing what we’re dealing with. Put it out in the open as a safe subject to discuss and consider ways by which to address it in-house, such as with yoga classes, exercise options, and the like.

In our work with clients, we often recommend reading On Dialogue by Renowned scientist David Bohm. This book can give you a sense of how dialogue can lead to higher levels of creativity and productivity.

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