Wednesday, June 07, 2017
Worried? That Could Make You a Better Leader
Hey, manager! What if I told you that occasional worry you feel might make you a better leader? It’s true. Whether it’s general nervousness or that churning stomach headed into a big meeting, those nervous butterflies you feel could prepare you to accomplish more …and to do it better.
But what if your anxiety is something more? What if it’s not just general discomfort, but it’s actually at a level that, you fear, could impair your productivity and hold you back in your career? Well, if that’s you, the first thing you need to know is that you’re not alone. There are many others out there dealing with similar mental and emotional hurdles … and all of you really can make it. Here are a few suggestions to help you along.
First, if you try to hold it inside, eventually you’ll explode. You will either break down physically, lash out emotionally…or both. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to be the person who wears their emotions on their sleeves and tells everyone every little secret, worry or fear. But, what you can do is bring people around you that you can trust. People who can help you through bad spells and talk you through times when you need it. These people might include members of your team, and it might not. That’s up to you, but don’t ignore this need. Everyone needs an encourager and a good listener in their lives.
Don’t treat your anxiety as a curse or a crutch. Do all you can to understand it. Learn what might trigger an extreme episode, as well as ways to deal with moderate or chronic anxiety. This isn’t about finding a “cure” … it’s about learning to be the best version of yourself by understanding who you are and what makes you tick. This is also a way you can take control of your anxiety, instead of allowing it to control you. This is a huge step because worrying about anxiety will only weigh you down and hurt you more. Instead of wondering, begin to learn … and in learning, begin to take back control of your life. And, remember that trustworthy person you can talk to? Help them understand as well, so they can learn what to say and do to really help when you need it.
Take time to identify thought patterns and mental or emotional responses to certain situations. Do you find yourself going in circles or getting caught in emotional cycles? You really can get off the merry-go-round. Honestly, you can. It takes time, and it takes work, but you can move past the thinking that holds you back. Step one in that process is to recognize when you’re starting to go off track and into a pattern. The sooner you see it, the sooner you can choose to take action to mitigate those feelings. It might not change what’s happening in your body, but it can make a big difference in the narrative moving through your head … and that’s a very big deal.
Best of all, taking these steps for yourself can teach you more about emotions in general and anxiety in particular. This can help you develop more empathy and understanding for others as well. This can not only help you be a better version of yourself, it can help you be a better, more inspirational leader for others.