When feeling anxious, pause to recognize your emotions deliberately interrupt your negative thought pattern and change locations, such as with a walk, to clear your head, writes Know Your Team CEO Claire Lew. “We literally must stop and slow down as a leader, if we are to truly lead well when we’re experiencing leadership anxiety,” Lew writes.



A wave of leadership anxiety hit me last week. My unending to-do list, the pressure of not wanting to let my team down, and my own voice of “You need to be doing more” and “You’re not doing enough” rung in my ears and tossed me around as mercilessly as the ocean might.

Famed leadership coach Jerry Colonna calls this manifestation of leadership anxiety “the Crow”, the negative inner critic who is squawking in your ear. But last week, the Crow seemed to have installed a megaphone inside my brain, and so its distant caw became a boom of lightning and thunder.

Do you know the feeling?

Anxiety might be the most universal felt experience of leadership. Some may call it “impostor syndrome” or “negative self-talk.” It manifests for each of us in slightly different ways: Paralyzing fear of doing the wrong thing, overcompensating with hours and force, frequent direction changes that give our team whiplash.

But the most frequent side effect of leadership anxiety is one I noticed last week…

While I was in my tumultuous moment of leadership anxiety, I happened to read a note from one of my colleagues at Know Your Team. He had an idea about something new we should consider at a company. After reading his note, my instinctive reaction to his idea in my head was, “That’s a terrible idea…”