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You are here: Home > Distressed Faculty & Staff > Specific Problems > The Anxious Employee

The Anxious Employee

Anxiety is often the result of feeling either out of control or that life is unpredict­able, or both. Two primary causes of anxiety:

  1. not knowing what to expect, and
  2. conflict.

Unknown and unfamiliar situations raise anxiety, as do high, unreasonable self-expectations. Anxiety may be situational or life-long. It may arise out of workplace stress or be an ongoing part of an employee’s life. These employees often have trouble making decisions.



  • Let her/him discuss feelings and thoughts. Often this relieves a great deal of pressure.
  • Reassure, when appropriate.
  • Remain calm.
  • Be clear and explicit.



  • Make things more complicated.
  • Take responsibility for her/his anxious state.
  • Overwhelm her/him with information or ideas.


Some employees experience anxiety or panic attacks in specific situations. Some may begin to limit actions or behaviors in an attempt to avoid situations that raise anxiety. As a department chair, supervisor, director or team leader your best recourse is to help the employee obtain help to address the underlying anxiety problem before work performance is affected and so the employee can get treatment before the anxiety gets worse.

by sebenl99 — last modified Jan 29, 2013 08:26 AM