Overcoming Fear and Anxiety in Others as Leaders
Leaders are just as human as the people that follow them. You may think that there is no reason to state the obvious here, but you may be surprised by just how easily that is lost on some people.
They are not omniscient; they do not know everything, nor do they have the solutions to all your problems. But the defining characteristic of a leader is not about what they can or cannot do. It’s about what they are willing to do for themselves and others.
As a leader in your own field, it is important that you see yourself in those who follow you. You see their struggles, you empathize with their frustrations, and more than anything, you want them to overcome their obstacles just as badly as they do. And some of the biggest roadblocks that your people might be facing right now are the feelings of fear and anxiety at work.
Fear and Anxiety at Work
Being stressed at work is completely normal. We all have our ‘off-days’ where it seems like everything has gone wrong and that the day could not possibly get any worse. However, if your employee’s ‘off-days’ are becoming an everyday occurrence, if they are constantly stressed and not giving their best at work, then they could be dealing with workplace anxiety.
There are several factors that can cause this. They could be dealing with issues such as changes in the workplace, conflict in relationships with their co-workers, or something as simple as concern over meeting a deadline. Whatever the cause may be for them, that is enough of a reason for you to step in and offer them the help that they need to overcome it with them.
Ways to Overcome Fear and Anxiety
Finding ways to prevent fear and anxiety is crucial in bettering your employee’s experience at work. So, here are a few tips you can do as a leader to help them overcome these roadblocks. By the way, feel free to use them for your own fear and anxiety too.
A little encouragement goes a long way. If they feel stunted or hindered, give them the encouragement they need to press on. You can also recognise their contributions to the organisation by giving them the praise that they have rightly earned through their hard work. Sometimes a leader needs to believe in their people, even though they do not believe in themselves. Over time this will help them to build their own self-image and confidence.
Your employees might think that they are bothering you if they ask for help. They may have a false belief around asking for help, that it is a sign of weakness or that you will think less of them. Even if it is untrue, if that is how they feel, then you need to work with them to shift these beliefs. By taking initiative and offering help, you relieve them from a lot of the stresses that they have put on themselves. They will feel better knowing that they are not a burden to others, that they can and need to ask for help when they need to, and that there are people at work who are willing to lend a hand.
Sometimes we get caught up in our work that it bleeds into our personal lives. Your employees may be taking their problems from work into their homes and that in turn creates unease and restlessness. Make sure to encourage and reinforce the divide between work and their personal lives so that they can have time to themselves, re-energise, and then afterwards, bring their best to work.
Because your employees view you as an authority figure, the way in which you overcome fear and anxiety with them is going to have a lot more meaning behind it. Remember, your strength as a leader does not come from your position. It comes from your ability to recognise that we are all human, we are all imperfect, and we could use a little help ourselves. Vulnerability and empathy are priceless characteristics of today’s great leaders.
Wayne W. Dyer, internationally renowned author and speaker in the field of self-development, puts this all into perspective when he said:
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
So, what is causing the fear and anxiety in your employees? How will you help them overcome it and create a healthier environment in your workplace?
We Are Here to Help
At People Builders, we have a team of expert trainers and coaches who can help you in building trust with your team. Contact us today for a quick chat to see how we can partner with you to train and coach you and your team.
If you are interested in becoming certified to be a trainer and coach in Social and Emotional Intelligence, Applied Neuroscience, or Extended DISC, go to our People Builders Institute website.