When It Comes to Sales, Some Stress Is Best

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New survey shows marketing and sales execs perform better when under a little pressure. Here are three tips for fostering the "good kind" of stress in your association.

Work stress is par for the course for creative leaders, according to new research from staffing firm The Creative Group. Seven in 10 (70 percent) of advertising and marketing executives interviewed said their job is somewhat or very stressful. But there's an upside: Nearly one-third (32 percent) of respondents claimed the more stress they experience, the better their performance; another 60 percent reported they thrive under some pressure. (View an infographic of the survey findings.)

"Stress can be a powerful motivator, inspiring professionals to make decisions, take action, and get results. But all employees need time to relax and recharge," says Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group. "Teams that are chronically overworked miss out on opportunities to strategize and come up with new ideas that will push the organization forward."

Advertising and marketing executives were asked: "In general, how stressful is your job?" Their responses:

  • Very stressful:  7%
    Somewhat stressful: 63%
    Not too stressful: 27%
    Not at all stressful: 3%
    Don't know: 1%
    *Responses do not total 100 percent due to rounding.

Executives were also asked, "Which of the following statements best describes how you feel workplace stress affects your productivity?" Their responses:

  • Bring it on! The more stressful the situation, the more productive I am: 32%
    A little bit of stress motivates me, but too much impedes my productivity: 60%
    My productivity suffers when experiencing any level of stress: 8%

"While many executives are well equipped to handle workplace pressures, employees with less experience may need some support. Managers should check in regularly with staff to ensure they have the resources and guidance to do their jobs well," adds Domeyer.

The Creative Group offers three tips to foster a healthy level of work stress among employees, particularly relevant among associations whose team members often wear many hats:

  • Ask staff for input. Touch base regularly with team members to ensure their to-do lists are reasonable. Help workers with time management and prioritization, and solicit feedback on how to operate more efficiently and effectively.
  • Encourage teamwork. When it comes to solving business challenges, two (or more) heads are often better than one. Foster collaboration in the workplace by providing plenty of opportunities for staff to partner with each other on initiatives.
  • Offer relief. Overburdened employees can quickly slip into autopilot, which can stall innovation. Provide project professionals or consultants who can assist core staff during peak activity periods.

About the Research

The survey was developed by The Creative Group and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 400 U.S. advertising and marketing executives.


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