Women in Leadership

Women in Leadership – Dealing with Anxiety & Pushing on Through

Anxiety for women in leadership is very common. Leadership anxiety is one of the most common problems faced by leaders today. It can be debilitating and can also lead to other mental health problems.

-Lack of confidence

-Feeling overwhelmed

-Inability to make decisions

-Inability to control emotions

Leadership is a difficult job. You are responsible for the success of your team, and you are also responsible for yourself. It is common to feel a sense of anxiety in this position, especially when you are just starting out. There are many causes for leadership anxiety, some of which we will explore below.

A lot of women in leadership have leadership anxiety because they don’t know what to do with their stress at work. They might not know how to deal with it in the first place, or they might be too afraid to ask for help because they don’t want their co-workers or boss to think that they can’t handle the job. This causes more stress and makes it even harder to manage your work responsibilities effectively.

How do we lead in a time of anxiety?


When you feel anxiety – how can you effectively lead?


If your heart is racing and your mind is all over the place, how can you inspire calm?


And how do you deal with fear as a leader?


The fact is that we all feel stress when we experience a threat – and anxiety is the natural response to that stress; a fear of what might happen, whether or not your fears are rational or irrational.


Sometimes these fears can be related to something imminent – such as an interview, or well into the future, such as retirement.


Research by Mind Share Partners found recently that almost 37% of workers say that they have felt anxiety in the past year. With these figures only set to increase, how can we rise to these challenges of leadership, even when we feel thoroughly off-kilter ourselves?


Stress and anxiety will never disappear completely, even after the pandemic. So we need to learn to be comfortable with it, and to harness it to become a better leader. Here are some steps for success.


1. Acknowledge it


When you feel anxious, simply say to yourself “I am anxious”. This will allow you to start to address it, and to adjust your behaviour accordingly.


2. Wallow… for a short while


Allow yourself to be fully present in your anxiety and fear. Experience the discomfort and let your imagination go with worst-case scenarios and catastrophes. Grieve, have a cry, and go for it.


3. See how you feel physically


Do you have triggers to anxiety such as a flipping stomach, a feeling of dread when you see someone, a headache when you read sales figures? Know what is setting you off. Sometimes these may be related to past events – even from your childhood.


4. Know what triggers you


A good way to develop excellent self-awareness is to keep a journal and to use this to record your anxious feelings and the scenarios that triggered them. Are you a perfectionist who feels anxious when overwork starts to become a problem?


What tells you that an anxiety period is happening – clenched shoulders, sore stomach, higher heart rate?


As you get to understand what triggers you and how that manifests, you can start to redefine your relationship with anxiety.


5. Differentiate probable and possible


Yes, catastrophe does happen. But how often? Reframe your fears by working out just how probable they are.


6. Restructure your time


If you become more organised and start to really value your time, research shows that your mental health will improve. Keep free time so that you don’t become overworked and overwhelmed.


7. Stay small


When things get overwhelming focus on small tasks that have meaning. Don’t waste time procrastinating. Do small but important tasks that give you a feeling of control and accomplishment.


8. Try mindfulness


Mindfulness techniques can also help you to get a grip on anxiety, bringing you to the present and keeping you calm. Use an app to deep breathe or meditate for a few minutes. 


Sarah Jones Leadership Coaching and Career Advice.

I have personally overcome many of the challenges women in leadership face as they progress their careers on the path to becoming successful.

With over 25 years working in leadership positions within global organisations, I am ideally placed to help you overcome workplace anxiety and  rediscover your zeal for your job and overcome work stress and work related stress.

If you are an aspiring leader of the future, an experienced leader or someone struggling with anxiety, then please contact me and I will help you achieve your goals.

The first step on your path starts with a free, confidential, 30-minute consultation with me, so don’t delay and book today.

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