We all have fears. At some level people in our organizations are fearful: We’re fearful that we’ll lose our job, we’re fearful someone will disapprove of what we’re doing, or we might be fearful that we’re just not good enough.
I believe fear is the enemy of doing a good job. The problem with fear is that it comes from nowhere and ruins your day. It’s not that things happen often that we should be scared of; it’s just that they do happen. Most of the time something that makes us afraid comes completely out of the blue, and at other times we know that something bad (or what we think is bad) is going to come; we just don’t know when.
Fear is the enemy of having engaged people. If our people are fearful they spend too much energy fighting whatever it is they’re scared of. We need to take the fear out of what we can control.
We need to get rid of gotcha management styles. Surprises, even good ones, aren’t things our people look forward to. If we can make life more predictable for the people we work with we’re likely to have our people focusing on the positive things they can do in our companies, not the things that could cause them pain.
One of Deming’s 14 points is to drive out fear. For whatever reason many companies have fear as part of their corporate culture: I don’t think management in these companies intends to have fear as part of their culture, but they do.
A good question for you to ask yourself is what about your culture fosters fear and what fosters bravery. If you don’t have a preponderance of things that will foster bravery then you might want to think about what changes you can make in your company that would change the focus and mindset of your people.
We all have limited capacity in our brains for what we focus on. If we live in fear we have crowded out room for almost everything else. When we’re afraid whatever it is we’re afraid of (whether it’s real or not) takes over our life. If we want productive people focused on moving our companies forward then fear needs to be at least managed if not gotten rid of completely.
I know in my personal life that when I’m afraid I tend to freeze and stop doing anything that’s useful. I suggest the same might be true for you. Think about what you can do to remove fear and replace it with hope. If you do I believe you and those you associate with will be much happier.
One of the strongest ways I know of reducing fear is to have knowledge replace it. We have a Stage 2 report that is complimentary for those who are willing to talk about their businesses and the eighteen areas that can create value with me. This 30 to 45 minute conversation will give you a good idea of things you might want to focus on that could reduce fear in your company. To sign up for your interview click on the button below.