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AI Anxiety Is Mounting In Europe: 3 Tips From A Behavioral Therapist to Overcome It Here's how founders can help themselves and their teams overcome anxiety and embrace artificial intelligence.

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By Elina Landman, Cognitive Behavioral Therapist and Executive Coach

Plenty of ground has already been covered on AI's endless capabilities and downsides. Yet little is said about how people fear that AI will replace them, to the extent that they choose not to use it at all.

Regulations such as the EU AI Act have been introduced in response to AI's accelerated growth. However, these alone are not enough to curb fears, as evidenced by backlash from Paris' plans to use AI monitoring at the Olympics, or erupting workers' strikes against AI last year across Europe.

Humans can tend to resist the unknown, and among your teams, you may have noticed trepidation in response to the ever-lasting crescendo of AI. Will AI be replacing me? Will my tasks and salary take a hit? According to LinkedIn investigations, 35% of workers in Europe feel overwhelmed by AI's rate of progress and think they won't be able to keep up with it.

Unfortunately, many individuals get so caught up in their anxiety that they don't recognize the vast potential AI presents in powering their productivity and driving efficiency in their daily tasks. This paradoxically feeds mistrust and rejection of new technology.

Let's dive into how business founders can help themselves and their teams overcome anxiety and embrace AI through three transformative behavioral techniques.

Embrace growth opportunities.

A study from PwC found that 68% of workers worldwide think AI will impact their jobs in the next five years, fanning the flames of anxiety over an unexplored and powerful tool. Adopting a growth mindset is key to tackling this fear. Propelled by a 'can do' attitude, individuals with this mindset relish challenges as opportunities to learn and grow.

A growth mindset is the antithesis of self-doubt and a great remedy for uncertainty. As a result, workers will experience heightened self-empowerment when doing their tasks.

Employees are more likely to willingly learn new skills, a vital component as technology continues to transform working processes. Incorporate training activities to nurture this mindset among your team. This training could include problem-solving workshops involving AI tools, directly showcasing anxious staff the power of technology as their friend, not foe.

Additionally, embedding benchmarkable progress within these training initiatives can augment a sense of achievement in using new technology. Set goals with individuals around building skills with new technology, whether that's using AI in tasks like brainstorming sessions or research.

Over time, your team will build confidence and a proven track record of leveraging AI in their job functions, empowering them to quell feelings of anxiety if they do arise.

Nurture an open mind.

Creating a roadmap towards skills progression as well as incorporating opportunities for self-assessment can help build resilience. It is also essential to take responsibility for one's capabilities and limitations when it comes to self-accountability. This will invite your team to assess their growing abilities while motivating them to continue building their aptitude with new technologies.

Additionally, introducing exercises where teams can hone their problem-solving skills and improve their resourcefulness through AI will help them approach challenges with a 'can do' mindset. Exposure to tougher situations puts that growth mindset into action, empowering employees to build their resilience and faith in themselves.

As your team's knowledge of AI use cases increases, so will their curiosity to explore these resources further and apply them to improving business processes. This interest fuels a long-term desire for continuous development and gets skeptics on board to use the technology.

Foster open communication.

Fears left unsaid often mutate into disproportionate feelings that can disrupt productivity and cohesion in the workplace. This results from the lack of space for people to feel comfortable and open up about their anxieties. That's particularly the case in a professional setting, where there's a tendency to act like the best version of yourself rather than being authentic.

Inviting your team to develop their soft skills around communication and emotional intelligence (EQ) sets the stage for earnestness. A great opportunity to do so is during moments of reflection on goal or skill progression, whether that's in quarterly reviews or one-on-one meetings. Encourage individuals to acknowledge and own their mistakes as well as their accomplishments. This can be translated into balancing vulnerability and responsibility and hopefully incentivizes individuals to come forward with their concerns.

The solutions-driven growth mindset can also unify a team and make them more willing to collaborate and share their thoughts with each other. Heightened collaboration can become a great foundation for fostering open communication and helping staff work through their AI anxiety together.

Finally, regularly checking in with your team individually will help you build trusting working relationships with each member, where they feel more comfortable expressing their anxieties.

These behavioral strategies are crucial for your employees to overcome AI anxiety. Building resilience, adopting a growth mindset, and fostering trust through open communication will help your team adopt a solutions-first approach and long-term adaptability that are vital to keeping pace with new technologies.

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