Leading with Anxiety

Feeling anxious as a leader? You’re definitely not alone and this article is chock full of great insights into how to manage it well in this challenging time. Many of us are high functioning anxious people who deal with anxiety by trying to control or plan for every eventuality. Anxiety in and of itself should be looked at not as a disorder but as a cautionary part of ourselves that is calling our attention to something important.

Rather than trying to stifle our anxiety, the best way seems to be simply thinking of it as a companion of sorts who is there to help us pause to think before acting. No, it’s not pleasant when we are feeling anxious because it is physically overstimulating as well as heightening our emotions and lessening our usual patience. Harder still when we are leaders and expected to be “in charge” and to know the answers at all times.

The best tip I see in this article is to have a support team of other leaders whose style is different than our own. If you’re a super anxious type, partner with someone else who is more grounded and less emotional, yes, even non-HSPs. The point is to question our perceptions with others who are capable of thinking calmly and rationally. Anxiety fundamentally will set our rational thinking into high gear but it will do so with the added fuel of emotion, which will lessen our ability to be truly rational.

By having one or two trusted and reliable friends or fellow leaders, who are unlike us, we can get a feel for the quality of our thinking and reframe it if we need to. Leaders do not need to feel like they are totally alone in making hard choices or in soothing those who work for them. We always have our team of fellow leaders and others we can turn to. Likewise, we should do the same for others when they are feeling anxious and unsure.

HSPs and HSS/HSPs may make terrific leaders but we do have to be advanced in our abilities to self-soothe, practice self-awareness, and reach out when we need to. Doing so makes us better leaders and more sustainable over the long term and through crisis’s like our present worldwide pandemic.

What are your go-to strategies for managing anxiety as a leader?


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