Being a leader means tough business. Everyone looks up to you, especially when a crisis arises within the team or the business. A leader is someone the whole team can count on at any given time.
But a good leader goes beyond crisis intervention or being an authority figure. It’s also about being the middle ground by bringing the team together and being the team’s strength.
“A leader is especially important at the beginning of a project, to define its vision of the project and communicate this vision to the team. This helps all of the team members to get on board with the goals of the project. Good leadership skills will also keep the members inspired and motivated to do their best work,” Cornelius Fichtner tells project managers.
But leaders are humans, too. And like everybody else, they, too, have their off days. There may be days when you might suddenly become anxious of your leadership skills or if someone has an issue against you. There will be days when the anxiety of being a leader will get the best of you and affect how you manage your team. Take heart; even the best experience anxiety.
With many things to be done, and huge responsibilities on your shoulders, along with issues that would pop up here and there, these tend to overwhelm and result in anxiety.
As with any challenge, there are ways to help you face and control your leadership anxiety. Below are some tips on how you can cope:.
1. Stop saying “I don’t deserve this”
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In a workforce scenario, people often become leaders as a result of a promotion or when they start managing their own projects. If you’re a new leader, you may think that you’re not good enough to be in the position or you’re not ready to be in one. That feeling is what causes fear into leadership for most people and may affect how you will manage the team in the long run.
So, the first step is to stop doubting yourself and your capabilities as a leader. Whether your superiors believe in your skills or you want to make your dream café come to life, you’re there for a reason. The fear of having leadership responsibilities won’t go away;, but don’t let it stop you from giving your best.
2. Keep a positive mindset
Being a leader, how you feel about a certain issue or a scenario in the project greatly affects how your teammates would feel, too. For instance, you’re nowhere near finishing the project and the deadline is in two days. If you, as the leader, think that you won’t make it, then it’s very likely that your team will feel the same way.
In other words, positivity must start with you. As a leader, it is your job to instill and encourage positive thinking. One of the great traits of a leader is having the courage to take the first step for the team, even though the future is blurry. And to have that courage means to look at the positive side of things, even in the most challenging circumstances.
3. Focus on your capabilities and strengths
Understand that no one–not even the best of leaders–are perfect. You will make mistakes along the way. And despite wanting to be perfect, embrace that: you will not be good at everything. And that’s okay. This is also what your team is for: to compliment your strengths and weaknesses.
Anxiety usually begins when you focus too much on your insecurities. So, Instead of letting the things you cannot do consume you, identify your strengths and use them to effectively lead your team.
4. Work on your weaknesses
Focusing on your strengths doesn’t mean completely ignoring your weaknesses. As was said in the movie Avengers: Age of Ultron: “Every human would have the opportunity to improve”. So should you.
To deal with leadership anxiety, you must identify your weaknesses. But rather than dwelling on them, conquer them by turning your weaknesses into strengths..
5. Cut your choices back
Being a leader also means you would need to make quick decisions and think on your feet. This is another reason why leaders have anxieties. Some leaders are afraid of making decisions because they feel that they might make the wrong one.
The fact is, decision-making is inevitable for leaders. To relieve anxiety when making decisions, the best that you can do is to cut back on your choices. Also, learn to trust your decisiveness. Lean into it until you gain the confidence to make the right decision at the right time.
6. Making mistakes and accepting criticisms are okay
Criticisms are always present when you’re a leader but are also often the cause of anxiety. But as a leader, you shouldn’t fear criticism. Rather, accept it graciously and with a grain of salt, then use it to improve and become even better.
Mistakes are also inevitable. Keep in mind that you are not perfect. Mistakes are avenues where you, as a leader, can learn new experiences, and help you on the path to success.
7. Do it your way
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There are many types of leaders in the world of business, project management, etc. There’s no one path to becoming a good leader. Beat that leadership anxiety by not comparing yourself to other leaders. Lead your team in your own personal way.. It’s perfectly okay to adopt your own leadership style, but one that is effective for everyone in your team.
8. Not everything is about work
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Being a leader doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to work 24/7. That mindset will take a toll on your physical and mental health. Sure, as a leader, you have many responsibilities — papers to sign, meetings to attend, projects to monitor, and high expectations from everyone in and out of your team. But keep in mind that you’re human, too, and need a break every once in a while.
Work-life balance is necessary, even for leaders. Taking a nap or leaving earlier than usual won’t hurt your project or business. Stop thinking about work for a while and relax. It will help you become more productive in the next few days.
9. Find a way to beat stress
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Leaders are prone to stress from the pressures of having many tasks and responsibilities. Having a lot of work on your hands will lead to stress and will affect your health if not taken care of the right way. Some opt to hold the stress in, but that would only add up to your leadership anxiety issues.
Part of work-life balance is being able to beat the stress caused by work. Some resort to exercising or other forms of physical activity to care for their physical and mental health. Not only do these help you remove stress from your body, but they can also serve as a positive distraction from work-related problems.
10. Remain humble
Who wouldn’t feel proud when they become a leader? But sometimes, pride can creep in and hinder open communication with the team. This is why humility is a great trait that all great leaders possess.
According to former Honeywell CEO, Larry Bossidy, humility gets results. Humility gives you the opportunity to listen and to learn from others, to get the best results for your project or business.
Dealing with anxiety caused by your leadership responsibilities may be an everyday struggle. Overcoming it starts within you. Believe in yourself and your teammates, and never let fear stop you from achieving your goals.