Performance Is Directly Impacted By Your Anxiety At Work, Study Finds
A research team at the University of Toronto have found the exhaustion that can occur due to workplace anxiety can directly lead to poor performance at work. The study, led by John Trougakos, Associate Professor of Organizational Behaviour and HR Management at the University, looked at the impact of workplace anxiety among officers in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The RCMP, Canada’s National Police Force, was the perfect candidate for the study as they work constantly in a high stress environment. They have to confront death, violence, murder while they are also under the constant scrutiny from the general public. The pressure to perform while also trying to protect the public at large, means workplace anxiety is very high.
So what happens in a work environment where anxiety levels are at their highest? Every human being can only cope with so much in their jobs. The resources we possess to cope with highly stressful situations is finite. Co-author of the study Professor Julie McCarthy explains further:
“If these resources are depleted then high levels of workplace anxiety will lead to emotional exhaustion and this will ultimately affect job performance.”
The emotional exhaustion among the 267 RCMP officers that were surveyed in the study directly led to a drop in performance levels. Furthermore, it was discovered that the better the relationship the officer had with their colleagues and supervisors, the more able they were to reduce stress. Anxiety therefore had a lower impact on the less stressed officer in performing their job.
It is important to emphasise then that those co-workers and supervisors who can provide better emotional support and show more empathy, will help to reduce anxiety within the workplace. Stronger relationships, built on good interpersonal skills leads to a more positive environment, reducing emotional exhaustion and boosting performance.
So how do you foster better relationships with your colleagues? Strong relationships are based on good levels of trust and understanding where everyone’s needs are met. People have to build resilience, and construct strong social networks to support each other, otherwise anxiety can damage performance levels throughout your team.
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