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Anxiety is Reputation Danger
It can lead to dangerous decision making
Science has determined that feeling anxious can lead to unethical behavior, writes Lolly Daskal in Inc. magazine.
Researchers at Northwestern University learned in studies that "Anxiety increases threat perception, which in turn, results in self-interested unethical behaviors,” Daskal says. “In other words, the more anxious you feel, the more likely you are to look out for yourself, even if it means breaking the rules.”
I will tell you, from my own life experiences, that I’ve witnessed this take place repeatedly over several years so I concur that the scientific findings also take place outside of the controls of experiments. They happen out in the wild of society, not just under test conditions.
Why is this important? Two reasons, I contend.
One, so you will now be self aware of people around you who might be feeling higher levels of anxiety and “threat” and therefore might be much more susceptible to poor decision making and self-interested behavior.
This could happen around you in your business, workplace or personal life, maybe with neighbors, strangers or in your relationships, the latter of which is where I saw unethical behavior over and over and over and over again for nearly two decades.
The second reason I mention this is because — and I’m not saying it will happen — maybe you too could one day do the less than ethical thing (did I say that nicely?) because of anxiety — if it is of moderate to high intensity.
That might not ever be you. Not every anxious person becomes unethical. But some who don’t see themselves as unethical will act unethically, maybe egregiously so.
Michael Toebe writes “Reputation Notes” and is the founder and specialist at Reputation Quality, a practice that serves and assists successful people and organizations in further building reputation as an asset and responsibly, ethically protecting, restoring or reconstructing it.
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