noun - a measure taken in advance to prevent something dangerous, unpleasant, or inconvenient from happening.
We're often asked how to help employees worry less. That’s the wrong question. The question is how to make unavoidable worry more useful.
Employees worry. Companies try to comfort. When executives downplay worry, employees disengage.
People are going to worry. Worry is a useful survival instinct. That’s why it’s a heritable trait.
Employees worry about their self-interests, not the company’s.
“Worry” gets a bad rap. Yes, excessive worry causes anxiety and stress, but useful worry can reduce anxiety and stress.
Worry focuses attention on perceived threats. Worry motivates action designed to avoid the threat. Without worry, people (and companies) are blissfully ignorant.
THE ABSOLUTE WORST ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE IS, “DON’T WORRY ABOUT THINGS YOU CAN’T CONTROL.”
- Think about it. Most people have already heard that advice. And guess what - they still worry!
- Asking people not to worry is like asking them not to breath.
- Ask yourself, are you going to worry about things you can control, or the things that are outside your control?
Covid-19 is outside our control. For most employees, the threats tied to Covid are outside their control, too.
Leaders need teams to worry together. When people worry in isolation they disengage. Worry can unify a team. Worry can create social connections.
Coach your team to worry effectively -
- Acknowledge the elephant - “everyone is worried”, “worry is natural”, “I’m worried”, “you’re worried”, most importantly, “we’re all worried”
- Rebrand “worry” - worry is a good thing, too much of a good thing is a bad thing,
- Inoculate against “needless worry” - remember, people worry about “perceived” threats. Seneca said, “…we suffer more in imagination than in reality”. People focus on longer term threats.
- Focus worry - prioritize likely, near term threats (vs. less likely, longer term threats)