Have you ever felt so stressed out at work that you have knots in your stomach? Do you have a workplace reputation as a micromanager or a people pleaser? If so, you may be suffering from anxiety.

This article outlines five work archetypes rooted in anxiety, which most mental health professionals agree is based on worry and fear. So, the first step toward overcoming work fear and stress is identifying where it comes from.

Consider which of these five workplace personality traits most resonates with you to create a less stressful environment. 

Workplace Personality #1: The on-the-job perfectionist.

In a workplace setting, having a high expectation of yourself and those around you is generally considered an acceptable, even noble trait. However, perfectionism most often stems from anxiety.

The fact is that a person who expects everyone, including themselves, to meet an impossibly high standard at work results in nothing but misery. Workplace perfectionists are always highly critical and may become defensive when anyone, including their boss or supervisor, provides them with some form of constructive criticism.

Mental health experts say that most perfectionists suffer from core fears of failure and low self-esteem. In a desperate attempt to avoid failure, the perfectionist attempts to be perfect, and the irony is that since perfection is not possible, they are setting themselves up to fail.

If you are a workplace perfectionist, consider reevaluating your high standards, lowering the bar, and practicing self-compassion.

Workplace Personality #2: The office people pleaser.

While being a people pleaser might help you become more popular around the office, there is a chance that being too much of a team player might harm your mental health and your job performance. The office people pleaser who says yes all the time, especially when they don’t have the energy or time to take on one new task, is likely sacrificing too much and will end up paying a hefty cost.

Mental health professionals agree that people-pleasing is a trait rooted in anxiety based on the fear of what the people around you might say, think, or do if you don’t say yes.

To overcome your people-pleasing habit, set time boundaries for yourself and try and determine where your desire to say yes comes from every time something is asked of you. It is totally okay to say that you’ll need to get back to the person asking after you’ve checked your calendar. Practice putting space before answering a request to take on a new task.

Workplace Personality #3: The resident procrastinator.

If new assignments fill you with anxiety or dread, your go-to reaction may be to put them off as a way to avoid having to deal with them. If this is you, you may want to figure out where this procrastination comes from.

Mental health professionals agree that it’s probably rooted in some anxiety if you often avoid tasks, places, or people at work. The sad reality is that when we avoid deadlines or difficult conversations, we only feed our anxiety and worsen it.

Anxiety feeds on procrastination and avoidance, which are only temporary solutions to an immediate perceived problem. If a certain project feels overwhelming to you, break it down into a series of smaller tasks.

Workplace Personality #4: The micromanager.

Like the perfectionist, the micromanager has a strong urge to control every last tiny detail, even if it means they are unpopular among those around them. A good way to determine whether your status checks on co-workers and subordinates are warranted is to ask yourself the following questions before involving yourself:

What are this person’s overall success rate and track record?

Are they completing their work on time?

Have they demonstrated a complete understanding of the project, specific tasks, and their role?

By asking yourself these questions before caving into your anxiety and unwarranted need to check in, you can bring yourself back to reality if necessary.

Workplace Personality #5: The busybody.

Employees compelled to plan after-work happy hours and stay on top of their co-worker’s social life usually suffer from an anxious fear of being unpopular and unaccepted. Experts say that the busybody believes they will be okay if the people around them are heard, entertained, or okay. People who feel a need to be a part of every co-worker’s life often think that people will only want them around if they are a benefit to them.

It is only when a person recognizes that their co-workers will respect and like them, even if they aren’t involved in everything.

Workplace Personality Takeaways

If you relate to any of the personality traits outlined in this article, you do not need to panic.

Personality traits, like anything else, can exist on a spectrum. Just because a person displays certain aspects of a personality trait or has a predisposition toward one doesn’t necessarily mean that anxiety and fear are destroying their lives.

The best thing to do if you relate to these personalities and to deal with workplace anxiety is to consult a mental health professional. 


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