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How to Manage High Functioning Anxiety in the Workplace

young male manager sitting at desk and smiling at laptop thinking of how to manage high functioning anxiety in the workplace

Most American industries are structured around a system whereby a manager (or managers) directs the duties of a number of diverse employees. As a manager, it is important to understand the employees working underneath you while learning their strengths and weaknesses. A good manager will assign tasks that play to an employee’s strengths while providing training and opportunities to improve any deficiencies. One increasingly common challenge is employees with high-functioning anxiety in the workplace.

It is a reality that physical and mental illness are a part of life, and effectively managing employees affected with various disorders is not only the right thing to do but is intrinsic to the job description. Employees with high-functioning anxiety are no less capable than other workers but could benefit from a professional anxiety treatment program like that at Connections Wellness Centers in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. Call 940.360.4245 to learn more!

What Should Managers Know When Managing Employees with High-Functioning Anxiety?

It is important to distinguish between a generalized anxiety disorder and a high-functioning anxiety disorder. As with most mental health diagnoses, generalized anxiety disorder requires symptoms to interfere with one’s activities of daily living for a prolonged period. In high-functioning anxiety, one of the symptoms is the inability to let your anxiety interfere with your activities of daily living, to the point of feeling the need to do everything perfectly all the time.

Does Working with High-Functioning Anxiety Prevent an Employee from Performing at a High Level?

Absolutely not! Some employees with high-functioning anxiety will excel at high-level tasks and projects due to their tendency to be perfectionists and desire to go beyond the expectations set before them. Most individuals with high-functioning anxiety present as outgoing and detail-oriented employees. They can often foresee potential issues that others may easily overlook because of their inclination to over-plan and think through all potential outcomes.

What Is the Best Way to Manage an Employee with High-Functioning Anxiety?

The best manager for an employee with high-functioning anxiety is someone that can show appreciation for the work they are putting in while also being able to recognize early on when they are putting more pressure on themselves than is necessary or healthy. Individuals with high-functioning anxiety can be prone to burnout, overanalyzing relatively simple instructions, or allowing their anxiety and planning to get in the way of actually completing tasks.

Is an Employee with High-Functioning Anxiety Less Capable of Leading a Team?

No—with attentive managers, clear expectations, and an organizational focus on self-care, an individual with high-functioning anxiety can thrive at work and be a fantastic supervisor. In a supervisory role, it is essential to clearly outline their expectations and to make them aware that they cannot expect everyone to meet the same high standards they put on themselves. They need a competent team that can deliver high-quality work but, more importantly, one that can help them focus on slowing down and appreciating the successes as they happen.

What Are Some Suggestions or Resources for High-Functioning Anxiety Workers?

There are a number of things that someone with high-functioning anxiety can do to manage their symptoms, such as:

  • Allowing themselves time to stop and appreciate their accomplishments
  • Differentiating anxious thoughts from normal expectations
  • Committing to regular self-care

Some other external options include talking with an individual clinician to better understand where their anxiety stems from, how to set healthy work boundaries, or joining an outpatient program that focuses on anxiety in a group setting.

Reach Out to Connections Wellness Group Today

If you are a manager or employee confronting high-functioning anxiety in the workplace, you are not alone. Whether you wish to seek treatment for yourself or work on setting up an employer-sponsored mental health initiative, Connections Wellness Group can help. For more information, call 940.360.4245 or contact us online.