A few weeks ago I monitored a test in my class and was intrigued by the anxiety level exhibited as time approached for the test to start. It wasn’t just one student, either. I knew this was a class of folks who took their studies seriously and worked hard both in class and on their assignments. Why am I bringing this up in a blog that for the most part talks about leadership and management issues? I bring it up for the simple reason that anxiety is not limited to classroom settings.
Any time there is a performance measure anxiety may be present to some extent. Psychologists have noted that anxiety at some level heightens awareness and can lead to enhanced performance. However, too much anxiety may have the opposite effect. It may detract from performance. Psychologists have identified and studied the phenomenon of test anxiety in classroom settings. Within your organization do your workers have “classroom” settings which might evoke so much anxiety that their work is affected? Is this really any concern to you? It might be if precision and accuracy are of paramount importance. Simply put, if anxiety levels are so high that work suffers, how can you expect to fill your customers’ orders or complete the contract on time?
How high does your anxiety level go when you hear Aunt Nell is on the phone or on her way to your office? Is that a good time to measure your performance as a leader? Wouldn’t the same consideration apply to your staff?

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