Work Performance Anxiety: Team Building & Psychological Safety
When we talk about workplace productivity and success, mental wellbeing in the workplace often slips through the cracks, yet it plays a crucial role in determining the overall health and performance of an organisation. A key aspect of this is understanding performance anxiety – what it looks like, how it manifests in the workplace, and how line managers can create an environment of psychological safety to support individuals in reaching their potential.
Spotting Nervousness and Performance Anxiety
Performance anxiety is a form of nervousness typically present before or during work-related tasks. It can be challenging to identify for managers and team leaders as it is not a visible or physical ailment; however, with attention to subtle signs, managers can recognise when their employees may be struggling.
What are some signs an employee has performance anxiety?
Watch out for consistent signs of discomfort, such as fidgeting, avoidance of eye contact, or excessive sweating. Employees with performance anxiety may also exhibit overcompensation behaviours, such as working excessively long hours or becoming excessively meticulous with their work.
Another red flag is changes in social interaction. This might mean becoming withdrawn, avoiding participation in meetings or group activities, or displaying unusually nervous behaviour during presentations or public speaking events.
Remember, these symptoms may also be associated with other conditions or circumstances outside of work. Therefore, spotting them should not lead to jumping to automatic conclusions but rather serve as a useful starting point for sensitive communication and support.
Promoting Psychological Safety and Support requires expert mental health training
Promoting mental wellbeing in the workplace isn’t a one-off activity. It’s a sustained effort that involves fostering an environment of psychological safety, where employees feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, concerns, and mistakes without fear of punishment or judgment.
- Start with open communication. Encourage employees to share their feelings and thoughts and listen empathetically when they do. Reinforce that it’s okay to seek help and that doing so does not reflect negatively on their professionalism or competence.
- Promote a healthy work-life balance. Encouraging employees to take time off, disconnect from work-related communications outside of office hours, and pursue activities they enjoy can significantly reduce stress and anxiety levels.
- Foster a culture of recognition and positive reinforcement. Employees who feel valued and appreciated are likely to experience lower levels of anxiety. Regularly acknowledge your team’s efforts, celebrate their achievements, and provide constructive feedback.
- Offer access to mental health resources. Ensure your team members know what resources are available to them and how to access these services. This can range from Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to mindfulness training or providing clinically approved literature or approved websites providing information on mental health.
- Additionally, consider providing mental health training to your management team on mental health first aid, equipping them with the skills to recognise and respond to signs of mental health challenges, including nervousness caused by work performance anxiety.
Why does Psychological Safety matter?
Addressing and finding ways to improve the conditions of employees is a crucial part of an inclusive company culture. As managers, there are many opportunities – and responsibilities – that can help to foster an environment that reduces mental health stigma in the workplace and helps our team members feel seen, supported, and valued.
Remember, the signs of performance anxiety can be subtle, and creating a supportive environment is an ongoing process. But with empathy, open communication, and a commitment to mental health awareness, Onebright can support your organisation in creating an environment where everyone can thrive.