Clarity is one of our foundational principles at Integrus. With it you have a much greater chance for success and impact. Without it, you will create various levels of anxiety resulting in destructive behaviors.
Remember: When clarity goes up, anxiety goes down and performance goes up. Unfortunately, the opposite is true as well. That is why we continually encourage leaders to keep the mission and message simple, clear and attainable.
Every employee shows up with some level of stress. It is created from home, health, and financial issues. The intensity and impact varies with each individual. That is why it is good to remember the "iceberg theory." You only see ten percent of a person's life. The majority of it is "hidden under water." Knowing this can help you stay focused on reducing the anxiety level of your employees.
There are 3 negative behaviors caused by anxiety:
1) INCREASED STRESS
If employees are uncertain of their job expectations they become fearful of being fired or not meeting performance requirements. Fear creates stress. Rapidly changing technology, pressure to perform beyond their skill set… It can shut you down. Negative self-talk skyrockets. Self-confidence, performance and relationships suffer.
2) INCREASED CONFLICT
Stress can cause us to unleash our fears and frustration through inappropriate communication. It has been said that you will make the "best speech you will ever regret" when you are angry. Anxiety causes us to react rather than respond. Communication and customer service decrease along with trust and teamwork.
3) DECREASED PERFORMANCE
A team of anxious employees are fearful, agitated, distrusting of one another, and uncertain of what is expected of them. They will no longer risk and initiate. They begin to "silo," looking out only for themselves. Communication grinds to a halt. It creates a negative spiral that cripples productivity as well as relationships.
As a leader, you can create an environment that is exactly the opposite of this tragic scenario. Here are the 3 ways to REDUCE anxiety:
Always keep the message and mission clear. Share information with employees that will reduce uncertainty about their jobs and futures. Clearly define your employees’ roles and responsibilities. Make it very clear how they can be successful.
Give your employees the chance to participate in decisions that affect their jobs, such as software updates and incentive plans. Ask for feedback. Find out if you are giving them enough resources to perform. Be sure the workload is suitable to employees’ abilities and resources. Asking for their input sends the message that they are valued.
Build relational capacity. Cultivate the relationships. Make sure to appreciate, acknowledge and affirm each employee. Provide opportunities for career development. Manage by wandering around. Take the time to know your people. Invest time and communicate that they are valued. Be intentional about building community as well. Find ways to bring everyone together. Create a culture of support and teamwork.
Great leaders remember the iceberg! Each person on your team is made up of hopes and dreams, trying their best to raise a family, provide for the future and still be successful in their career.
There is an old business quote "Don't redo the lobby, redo the cafeteria." It is about valuing your people. Give them the support that can reduce their anxiety and not only watch them soar, but your team and productivity as well.