A colleague is out sick, and suddenly it's fallen on you to deliver a crucial client presentation. The saliva dries up in your mouth, your heart races. You briefly consider heading home sick yourself, before moving into the conference room to discover your boss has decided to sit in. If you were in danger of failing before, now your anxiety has made failure a foregone conclusion.
We've all experienced the crippling effects of job performance anxiety. But far from being uniquely relegated to nightmare scenarios like the one outlined above, anxiety is a pervasive aspect of office life, says Harvard Business School Assistant Professor Alison Wood Brooks.