How The Best Business Leaders Combat Anxiety (And Help Their Employees Too)


Anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health conditions at this time. It happens to all and is experienced by all at some point in each person’s life, regardless, if your family is prone to mental health issues or not. This is also a workplace issue. At work, the managers and senior leaders can create policies that can help in developing an understanding of the mental health and the wellbeing of their people. Since anxiety is natural in the workplace, many people do not give concern about it. Thus, continued feelings of anxiety lead to job stress.

“How does it feel to have GAD? One of my patients told me: “I am frustrated by my mind always moving 100 miles per hour and going down a rabbit hole. I feel constantly on edge and unable to relax.” Another said, “I am exhausted and unable to enjoy life.” – Jelena Kecmanovic, clinical psychologist.

Research says that anxiety and mental health are critical issues in the business industry. BeyondBlue’s report states that 75% of Australian employees agree that the workplace should provide support to their anxious and depressed employees. This is true not just in Australia, but all over the world.

Mental health also affects the finances of such businesses. 21% of employees, according to BeyondBlue, have taken a leave of absence due to mental health issues within 12 months. If employees are down, productivity and output are affected. The income of the business will also suffer.

With that, it is beneficial for everyone to create a mentally healthy workplace. This may involve building a supportive space where everyone can cope with their stress. Also, to provide an environment where everyone can feel comfortable to seek help when they are struggling.

“The evaluation aspects of a work environment can be incredibly anxiety-provoking,” said Ryan Hooper, a clinical psychologist practicing in Chicago. He also said the pressure to succeed, coupled with the fear of making a mistake, can become crippling.

Since managers face the workers regularly, they will notice the changes in their staff’s behaviors. Encouraging good communication between staff members and upholding respect within the ranks will lessen stressors. The managers should start to speak openly about mental health conditions that employees may face in the workplace. They must normalize the conversations and share their own experiences. These actions are one of the most effective ways to reduce the stigma connected to mental health.


There are noteworthy attitude and behavioral benefits the employees will have if their boss or CEO values a mentally healthy workplace. This lowers the absences at work and promotes a more positive perception of mental health. This also increases the good image of the company and can be seen as a physically safe workplace. The managers should promote different strategies in preventing stress at the workplace. Various experts say that managers should be aware when their employees show early signs of anxiety.

These signs may be considered fatigue from sleepless nights which can also affect the employee’s focus and productivity. Employees may even feel distracted and worried. They also may display seriousness and loss of sense of humor. Additionally, these employees may start having difficulty engaging in discussions in meetings.

Advanced anxieties can be felt physically. This can be seen or perceived as trembling, stomach aches, rapid heartbeats or feeling unwell. These can be symptoms or early signs of anxiety that managers should take note of.

Managers can support their staff’s mental health by promoting physical activities. The staff’s autonomy over their work can also help improve their mental health. Managers can also promote stress management tools and provide a portion of healthy food and provide access to workplace counseling.

Managers should also be the leader in promoting employee wellbeing, and it is also essential to show that they can also become vulnerable at times. Business owners also share the responsibility of encouraging their staff to talk about mental health in general and help to assist and support those who may be suffering.

Jason Walker, Psy.D. says, “You’ll find that if a person in leadership opens up about depression, anxiety, or any other mental health issue, the entire team will feel more comfortable talking about their own mental health. Many people feel as though they have to keep their anxiety and depression quiet, but knowing they are not alone encourages an open conversation and helps them realize that they are not alone.”


All Great Leaders Have Anxiety. Here’s How the Best Ones Deal With It

It is common especially for the entrepreneurs to have anxiety. But this anxiety can also complicate the core responsibilities of their leadership. Wilson proposed four suggestions for handling anxiety:

Limit Your Choices.

Decision making can drain you out especially if you are anxious. Problems can be compounded because of the small decisions can add to the anxiety of people as much as the weighty ones.

One way of limiting the choices is by doing specific actions or anchors throughout the day. It may be wearing the same style of dress or ordering the same lunch. This can help prevent your brain from experiencing decision fatigue.

Don’t Freak Them Out.

Do not vent out your anxiety on yourself or your people. Employees may also tend to be shaken and demoralized when facing a fearful leader if you are a business owner and know that they can easily be anxious. You can hire a manager that you know can handle their stress well. You can also do refocus or take a break to calm up your nerves.

Rename It.

Anxiety and excitement have similarities in terms of biological responses to arousal. Thus renaming anxiety as excitement can change a whole lot of different things, even though you are feeling it the same way. A change of mindset is all it needs.

Have An Exit Strategy.

Always set a trigger where you will end things up. For example, if you are a business owner and is facing a financial crisis, set up a trigger that tells you when to sell or close down the business instead of continuing until you reach a dead end.

So, if you’re feeling depressed or anxious, think of a great boss like Steve Jobs or Warren Buffett. If they can handle all the stress of managing thousands of people under them, well, you should be able to cope with your issues, minuscule or significant.

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