What’s Your Fear Factor?
By: David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer
Have you ever been so scared that you felt almost paralyzed? How about one of those nightmares where you tried to run away but you just couldn’t get your feet to move? Fear is an emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous and likely to threaten or cause pain. As a young person growing up in the 60s and early 70s there were many things to be afraid of. We had fallout shelters in my school just in case of a nuclear attack. Each evening, NBC would start their Nightly News broadcast with a body count from Vietnam. There were riots in most major cities. Locally there were threats of riots in the high schools and on one occasion, my elementary school was on lockdown because the high school next door had a riot in progress. We were not allowed to leave until things calmed down and then those of us who were walkers were told to go straight home.
What about fear at work? Have you ever thought about how fear might be playing out in your workplace? I have seen managers who were afraid to hear the truth about themselves. Completely unwilling to be vulnerable and see where they might need improvement. How about your team? Are they afraid in the workplace? Perhaps it’s not you that they are afraid of, it might just be another manager or a coworker. This fear is just as paralyzing to the organization as the nightmares we have.
When employees are afraid, innovation and creativity stop. People won’t make decisions. They won’t take charge of anything. This fear often manifests itself in what is perceived as a lack of urgency or an “I don’t care” attitude from employees when in fact they care deeply but are so afraid, they simply can’t act. They are so worried about making the wrong decision that they just stop and wait for direction from their boss.
What have you seen lately? Is your business running well or do things seem stuck from time to time? It just might be fear that is holding your team back. Marisa and I will discuss ways we can conquer the fears in our own lives and those of our teams on The Next Page podcast. This will be well worth listening to.