The last thing an anxious employee needs is for an employer to perpetuate the problem.
Here are 5 ways in which leaders of organizations can establish baseline expectations for their teams to reduce anxiety of teammates. Employees that may struggle with mental health or are already stressed, anxious, or catastrophic thinkers will forever be grateful if your leaders implement these easy and digestible practices.
1) Have CONSISTENT Meeting Schedules and One-to-One’s.
Leaders and managers need to over-communicate clarity on any changes to the “known”.
Individuals with anxiety want to live off of rules, routines, and rituals.
Things outside of that sphere, the “unknown”, can sometimes cause individuals with anxiety added stress.
Just because changes work for you as a leader, doesn’t mean it works for your team for which you are responsible. Keep consistency with meetings.
2) DO NOT SEND VAGUE EMAILS
An email at 6pm that contains a cryptic message like, “let’s connect tomorrow at 9am” will/could drive an individual with anxiety straight into a tailspin.
Even if the reason to meet is obvious to the other individual, PLEASE CLARIFY.
For example, “are you free tomorrow morning to go over the new hire packet with myself and HR to ensure we are all on same page?”.
Vague emails for individuals with anxiety may feel passive aggressive. Especially in times of economic uncertainty. Don’t do it.
3) Give People TIME to Process Changes and Deadlines
Changes and deadlines are already cause for enough anxiety without a leader butchering the rollout or communication of each with their respective teams/employees.
Deadlines are great. Changes can be great. But they can be explained or implemented ineffectively.
Everyone needs deadlines and they are especially important for accountability, performance management, and organizational success. All for them.
Managerial practices toward these initiatives (deadlines and change) need to be on point to curb the anxiety of your team.
Where the elite leaders separate themselves from average/good/great is how they prepare their team for aforementioned deadlines or change. This is where emotional intelligence and empathy play a major role in how you communicate, build trust, establish healthy relationships, build boundaries, and execute on time with energized teams.
It’s not enough to just express deadlines and changes. Leaders need to verbally and meaningfully connect to individuals and teams with this simple phrase, “are you ok?”. Three of the most important yet forgotten words in management. Don’t forget this.
4) Provide Resources and Support
There are lots of resources in the market to support employees’ mental health, none more obvious than CADRE! It’s important to implement the best wellness solution available to ALL individuals on your team(s). Investment in your most precious resources, your people, will provide the best long-term ROI you could ask for.
We all witnessed the most horrific event over the past 72-96 hours in Memphis. How has your organization provided support? How have your leaders shown up to discuss this with your team? How has your organization rallied around the black and brown community to give them what they need during this time?
Not doing something is never the right thing to do. No matter what, show up. You can never go wrong by leaning into vulnerable and authentic conversations with your organization(s). Not doing something will create anxiety and stress for your work force that is looking for action, empathy, psychological safety, and connection. Give this to your employees during tumultuous times.
We are here for you, but so are a lot of other solutions. Your employees deserve to get their needs met. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to ensure that their mental health and wellness is being looked at with the same lens as your companies EBITDA and NOI.
5) Encourage “Wellness” As a Way of Life in Your Company
Companies. Listen up. Your leaders need to exemplify wellness. If they live, eat, and breathe wellness a ripple effect will happen. Those that suffer from anxiety will start to experience optimal performance in the workplace, continue to build trust with upper management, and will start to feel that their personal needs are just as important as their professional responsibilities.
Self care. Journaling. Gratitude lists. Vision boards. Yoga. Meditation. Mandatory PTO days away from work. Lunch “walks and talks”. Exercise mornings prior to grueling day.
Be the leader that does these things for your team. Take care of your team like you would your family.
The individual that has Generalized Anxiety Disorder that is reading this right now is thinking to themselves…”how amazing would it be if the rest of the team listened to a 15 minute guided meditation or visualization exercise prior to a 1 hour stressful meeting?”. Reason being, most individuals’ heart rates probably don’t hit 115-135 prior to a meeting. Individuals with anxiety can tell you all about what it’s like before those stressful sit-downs.
Trust me. Introduce daily wellness practices for your team. That 30 minutes or 1 hour will build a strong bond that you may or may not know existed between employees and their mental health.
Take it from me when I say that these 5 simple practices will change your employees’ lives, especially those with anxiety.
It’s ALL of our responsibility to deliver the most prosperous working environment for all employees, but the main driver relies on leadership to build a culture that supports those with mental health issues and illnesses.
Here’s to making tomorrow better than today for employees who have been tirelessly combating anxiety in the workplace. I/we, Cadre sees you.