How to Lead in the Midst of Anxiety


If there’s only one thing you take away from this post, let it be this: you don’t need to have it all together to be a great leader. 

If you’ve ever struggled with anxiety as a leader, you’re not alone. It’s easy to get caught up in imposter syndrome when anxious thoughts start coming in, but leaders were never meant to be perfect. You’ve probably questioned your ability to inspire your team while you’re struggling. I want you to know it’s absolutely possible to lead and inspire others in the midst of anxiety. 

Acknowledge & Accept
The first step to effectively lead in the midst of anxiety is to acknowledge and accept that the anxiety is there. Many leaders funnel emotions such as fear, stress, and anxiety into work. While this may feel beneficial in the short term, it can have dire consequences in the long run. Consequences can include illness, strain on relationships both at work and home, and overall depression. Once you learn to accept and acknowledge anxiety — then you will be able to face it head-on. 

Assess the Anxiety & Determine Triggers
Once you’re able to recognize anxiety, you’re one step closer to identifying when it appears for you and why. Consider starting an emotions diary — whenever you feel anxious, just jot it down in your phone or in a notebook. Next time you feel a wave of anxiety coming over you, document your physical reactions and examine what might have triggered it.

It could be a slight flip in your stomach when you see someone’s name pop up in your inbox. Or it might be nausea and a feeling of dread when you read the numbers on a financial report. Whatever it is, make note of it and try to examine it from an objective viewpoint.

Take Action!
The last step is to take action so you can look your anxiety in the face and show it who’s boss.

  • Practice self-care
  • Structure your time
  • Get outside in nature
  • Build a support system
  • Connect with loved ones
  • Use a mindfulness technique
  • Compartmentalize your worry
  • Prepare for unexpected surprises
  • Enroll in a women’s leadership course

Source: https://hbr.org/2020/05/leading-through-anxiety


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