5 Ways to Avoid Performance Anxiety in Your Teams

Author: Damilola Onamusi, Operations Manager, Supa Network | 4 mins read

Photo by Tonik on Unsplash

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Performance Anxiety is defined as ‘fear about one’s ability to perform a specific task’. Now more than ever In the current climate, more people are being trusted to perform tasks that they probably weren’t responsible for when they were hired.

This can trigger anxiety and can manifest itself in different ways which hinder productivity and performance of teams.

Here are 5 simple ways you as a Manager, Team Leader or Divisional Head can avoid/reduce performance anxiety amongst your teams and create a high performing environment.


Know your team. 

As performance anxiety induces worries of humiliation, rejection or being fired, many who experience this will try very hard to hide their weaknesses and stop trying new things, putting themselves forward for new opportunities or sharing ideas.

Therefore, it’s imperative that you study your team (and yourself). Know that when stressed Tom gets in early and leaves late. Be able to see when Bola is overthinking or nervous because she’s quieter in meetings.

In addition to studying your team, ask them how they deal with stress and anxiety to give you insight into their coping mechanisms. By knowing how anxiety and stress manifest itself in you and your team you’ll be able to get ahead of any storm that may follow.

Be transparent and communicate

Now that you know how anxiety and stress manifests itself amongst those you work with and yourself. You need to speak about it. There is no point knowing all of this and then doing nothing about it.

During team meetings, be open about what is causing your stress and how you plan to deal with it. By opening lines of communication, you’ll be surprised how your team will gravitate to you when they are anxious rather than hiding. 

Make it habitual to find solutions to worries and pain points in meetings and 121s (if you’re not doing 121s you should consider starting them).

By creating such an environment you’ll see you feel less stressed, your team is less stressed, there’s reduced anxiety and greater job satisfaction which ultimately leads to increased productivity.

Adapt working conditions

By creating an environment where employees feel they can thrive and not be ‘punished’ for making mistakes will aid anxiety reduction.

A great way to start this is to review each individual's workload and identify where this can be reduced or if deadlines can be moved to allow for less demanding/intense work. Secondly, give more freedom to employees in selecting the tasks they feel they’ll excel in.

Enforce breaks 

Often when people are stressed, they work overtime as they’re striving for perfection to avoid their ‘weaknesses’ showing. Therefore enforcing breaks and lunches away from desks allows your team to breathe.

Anxiety is constant chatter in the brain and simply being able to step away from the cause of your anxiety; in this case work, you’re able to let your cognitive brain kick in and solve the problem.

Start or enhance your workplace recognition scheme (or just team recognition)

If your workplace doesn’t have a recognition scheme, don’t wait for the Senior Leadership Team or Board to implement one, start from today within your team.

Start praising hard work, problem solving and initiative through email recognition, a free lunch, time off, getting them a bottle of their favourite drink or simply just saying Thank You.

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Good managers are aware of workplace anxiety but GREAT managers are aware and actively strive to reduce it. Employees shouldn’t have to sacrifice their health or happiness because of work. Including you.  

Be a great manager and start working towards a healthy or healthier workplace environment TODAY.

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