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Mindset Matters: How Businesses Can Transform In A New Age Of Anxiety

By News Creatives Authors , in Leadership , at September 22, 2021

Anxiety is often described in clinical terms as an emotion that is characterized by feelings of heightened tension, worried thoughts that can be manifested by various physical changes including increased blood pressure. People who deal with this hidden disability usually have ongoing recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns that impact one’s basic activity of daily living. During the coronavirus pandemic, this may be the first time in a century that the world has truly felt the effects of a collective sense of anxiety that is impacting every nook and cranny of our daily lives. Living in a digital ecosystem has only amplified this scenario even further creating new shared challenges that are manifesting in various ways. One of those great challenges is being felt within the corporate ecosystem itself, leadership recognizes that the coronavirus is a moving target, and the world of work is changing dramatically often being dictated by the anxieties of employees, consumers, and the economic realities of the moment. Yet, in this new normal, organizational leadership must get a better handle on this fluid situation to reshape their business model that will not only be sustainable through the pandemic but be transformative for the long-term health and economic prosperity of the organization. 

To truly understand how to take these next steps, organizational leaders need to embrace the fact that hidden disabilities are part of the very ecosystem of daily business life and need to be approached differently than they have before. While business and anxiety may seem like strange bedfellows, this is an opportunity of how we can reimagine the world of work to come. The influential psychologist and author Rollo May once wrote that “Anxiety is an even better teacher than reality, for one can temporarily evade reality by avoiding the distasteful situation; but anxiety is a source of education always present because one carries it within.” It is this very idea that can become the cornerstone of the future of business practice from management strategy to employee engagement. Anxiety is something that has always been part of the human condition, but it has now been amplified by a fast-paced connected world that has accentuated the layers of the ever-changing issues by acknowledging the social, economic, cultural, and health realities that swirl around our everyday lives. The difficulty now is, how can executive leadership see this hidden disability as a window of opportunity to better understand where people can leverage this moment to foster a more effective way to engage in work-life on a multitude of levels?

This is a time of exploration where corporate leaders can become true participant observers and absorb themselves in the very mechanics of anxiety concerning the world of work. As companies are discovering a new arc of workplace cultures from in-person, to hybrid, to completely remote, anxiety will serve as a gateway to identify how these changes are impacting employee engagement through a redefinition of the corporate culture. 

Leadership should become more attuned to how priorities will evolve in this time of change. So where do we go from here? From C-level executives to senior management on down there must be an individual and communal audit of the role of anxiety. In doing so, the goal is to help cultivate a new corporate narrative that amplifies anxiety as a mechanism for change. Given the recognition that there is a baseline knowledge that anxiety can certainly provide barriers, there is an alternative thought pattern when referencing the ideas of psychologist Rollo May that provide companies greater insight to rethink how to develop new management practices more effectively for a changing work culture as well as think about an innovative customer experience.

Defining this new model around anxiety in the corporate world will take time, but it can be critical to not only help with greater acceptance of those struggling with mental health issues but also create avenues of change where our vision of anxiety can be reframed and understood through a new way of thinking that will ultimately be beneficial in this time of business transformation.


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