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7 Tips for Overcoming Anxiety in a New Job

Starting a new job can be exciting, but it can also bring about feelings of anxiety. Whether you're a manager, leader, or a new hire, the transition to a new role can be filled with worries about meeting expectations, leading your new team effectively, fitting into the company culture, building relationships with stakeholders, and more.

In this article, you'll find practical solutions and strategies to help you successfully navigate the transition to a new job and feel confident in your new role.

1. Set goals

To set yourself up for success, it's crucial to establish your goals for the first 30, 60, and 90 days of your new role. Schedule a meeting with your line manager to align your goals and ensure you're moving in the right direction. Once your top priorities are identified, turn each into a SMART goal (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound). Then, break each goal down into a manageable project and schedule time to begin working on it.

2. Schedule time to get to know your team

Building your network and establishing relationships with your team and other departments is essential in your new role. To gain a deeper understanding of your role, challenges, and the company's operations, reach out and introduce yourself. Utilise this opportunity to set up half-hour meetings with each person on your team and identify the key stakeholders who are influential to your goals. Schedule introductory meetings with them as well.

Before each meeting, plan your questions to get to know people and the business better, including strengths and areas for development. Some useful questions include:

  • Can you describe your role and responsibilities here?

  • What are the biggest challenges you face in your role?

  • Can you tell me about a successful project you have worked on recently?

  • Are there any current initiatives or projects you are working on that I should be aware of?

  • What do you see as the future of this company or industry?

  • What is your favorite thing about working here?

  • What can I do to support you in your role?"

3. Make a plan towards reducing your biggest anxieties

To overcome your biggest anxieties, start by identifying the specific areas that cause discomfort during your transition into a new role. For example, if public speaking makes you anxious, reflect on what would change if this obstacle was removed, such as feeling confident and delivering a clear presentation. To increase confidence, ask yourself: "What can I do to feel more comfortable giving my first presentation?" Brainstorm 10 solutions and choose the most useful, such as researching the subject matter, prioritising information, and practicing in front of a mirror. Allocate a specific amount of time in your calendar to put the chosen solutions into action. This will help you work towards reducing your anxieties one step at a time.

4. Focus on your leadership skills

Leading a team effectively is a key concern for many individuals starting a new job. Effective leadership is crucial for ensuring the success of a team, as well as for promoting a positive work environment and boosting team morale.

To lead a team effectively, it is important to understand each team member's strengths and areas for development as well as their motivations and personal goals. Together, you can set clear goals and expectations, and provide regular coaching and feedback to team members. In addition, leaders should foster a culture of open communication and collaboration, encouraging team members to share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns.

Partnering with a leadership coach is one way to fast track developing your leadership skills, and effectively navigate challenges to become an effective and confident manager in your new role.

4. Acknowledge each positive step you take along the way

“Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant” Robert Louis Stevenson famously said.

When you start a new job, you may be anxious to hit the ground running and show results from the outset. It may frustrate you when things don’t happen immediately.

Remember that most goals you are working towards - whether developing your internal network, building rapport with your boss, or leading a high performing team - are made up of many different steps, and completing these will take time.

As long as you have recorded a clear strategy as to how you will achieve your priority goals, you are on the right track. Celebrate your mini milestones on the way - from bonding with a colleague by the water cooler to leading a successful 1:1 with one of your direct reports. Cliche as it might be, it’s the journey that counts.

5. Identify the things that makes you feel confident and calm

Starting a new job can bring feelings of anxiety and pressure to perform at your best. However, it's important to prioritise self-care and maintain a healthy work-life balance, even when trying to prove your worth. Incorporating simple, enjoyable activities into your daily routine can help to keep you in a calm and productive state, and prevent burnout in the long run.

Whether it's listening to music, exercising, having a cup of coffee, or taking a break for a walk in nature, finding activities that bring you joy and relaxation can have a positive impact on your well-being. Making time for these activities can help you stay centered, focused, and ready to tackle the demands of your new role.

Remember, taking care of yourself is not a luxury, but an essential part of achieving success. So, make sure to incorporate self-care activities into your daily routine, no matter how busy you may be. By prioritising your well-being, you'll be better equipped to handle the challenges of your new job and reach your full potential.

6. Don’t say yes to everything

It's essential to be mindful of taking on too much when starting a new role. The temptation to say yes to every request in an effort to gain approval or make a positive impression can be strong. However, taking on tasks that are outside of your role or don't align with your team's goals can divert your attention and hinder your progress. It's important to prioritise and maintain focus on your goals to ensure success in your new role.

Here are some useful questions to consider ahead of saying yes:

  • Does this task align with my role and responsibilities?

  • Does this task align with the goals of my team and organisation?

  • Do I have the necessary skills and resources to complete this task effectively?

  • Will taking on this task negatively impact my other priorities or responsibilities?

  • Can this task be delegated to someone else who is better suited for it?

  • Is there a potential conflict of interest with accepting this task?

  • Will this task significantly impact my workload and stress levels?

  • Is there a timeline for completion and do I have the time to complete it within that time frame?

Here are some useful ways to say no diplomatically:

  • Thank the person for considering you, but explain that you are unable to take on the task due to other responsibilities or priorities.

  • Offer to help find someone else who can complete the task.

  • Provide a clear and concise reason why you cannot take on the task, such as a lack of necessary skills or resources.

  • Suggest an alternative solution, such as completing the task at a later date or finding a different way to address the issue.

  • Emphasise the importance of prioritising tasks and being mindful of workload and time constraints.

  • Offer to assist in any way you can, such as providing information or resources, without taking on the task itself.

  • Apologise for any inconvenience caused by your inability to take on the task.

  • Be firm but respectful in your response, maintaining professionalism and positive relationships with colleagues.

7. Remember that everything is an education

Starting a new job can bring feelings of anxiety and pressure to make a great impression. It's natural to want to avoid mistakes while demonstrating your success to colleagues and superiors. However, it's important to remember that mistakes are a normal part of the learning process and can provide valuable opportunities for growth.

A company I once worked with, what3words, embraces a cultural value of "Making New Mistakes." Rather than fearing mistakes, the leadership encourage taking calculated risks and learning from them to continually improve. This mindset can help to overcome the fear of making mistakes and allow you to step outside of your comfort sone to try new things.

To maximise your success in a new role, seek out opportunities to improve your skills and knowledge - especially when they fall out of your comfort zone. Make sure to ask questions and seek feedback. While hearing constructive criticism can be challenging, it provides a roadmap for personal and professional growth. Embrace the opportunity to make new mistakes, learn from them, and continue to strive for success in your new role.

8. Partner with a leadership coach

Starting a new job can be overwhelming and create a lot of anxiety. Working with a leadership coach can be a game-changer. You'll get an objective perspective who helps you identify the root causes of your anxiety and develop strategies for overcoming it. A coach will offer you support, guidance, and hold you accountable for taking action towards achieving your goals. Additionally, they can help you develop skills and techniques for managing anxiety, which will be useful in other areas of your life as well.

Working with a coach can help you manage your anxiety, build confidence, and become a more effective leader as you navigate the challenges of a new job. If you're interested in finding out more, I would like to offer you a free coaching session in which we can discuss your needs and start to create a strategy to build your confidence in your new role. To schedule your free consultation get in touch today.

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