In a past post, Do You Ever Feel Fear At Work? I looked at how feeling fear can be a destructive force. The flip side is if we, as managers, create fear in others. For me, creating fear serves no good purpose. It is effective for some in maintaining control but, essentially, it is bullying that has no place in our workplaces.
Good managing involves building a team, not breaking people down. How do managers create fear in others? They create an environment of insecurity, where team members do not know where they stand and feel their position is tenuous. They threaten people, subtly or overtly. They let their emotions run wild, intimidating others. They create uncertainty, without providing leadership.
Do you think you create fear in others? Is it intentional? Could you be creating fear subconsciously? It takes courage to manage openly, respecting others and maintaining your and their integrity. Do you have the courage to eliminate fear from your workplace?
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Worry is what we call a gremlin in coaching – an inner feeling or explanation that sabotages or stops you from moving forward or acting in your own interests. Not only can worry stop you in your tracks; it serves no useful purpose. Worry allows the mind to take over and dwell on difficulties, often blowing them out of proportion. Worry is destructive.
The underlying causes of worry are real – anxiety, uncertainty, unease or fear – what matters is the nature of your response to them. When worry shows its face, consider what your options are. Do you feed the worrying or take another, more useful, direction? My suggestion is to sidestep the worry, face the situation and find the best way to move forward. Worry is useless.
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Fear can show its face at work and often does. It finds its way within uncertainty, dysfunctional cultures, self doubt, power plays, edges of comfort zones, unexpected outcomes and aggression.
The best way to deal with fear is to go right through it. Pushing it down, pretending it is not there or convincing yourself it doesn’t matter, only increases fear’s hold on you.
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We all deal with fear in our lives. A recent New York Times column, Why Fear Kills Productivity provides some good insights and suggestions concerning fear in the workplace.
When you feel fear you can experience physical, mental and emotional effects. At times, there are good reasons to feel fear – perhaps when you feel you will not be able to deliver on a deadline or product or when your job is threatened by cost-cutting, or other things beyond your control. This kind of fear you can find ways to deal with. However, fear due to mistreatment, intimidation or bully bosses has no place at work. That kind of fear is unwarranted and needs to be identified and dealt with constructively. Fear should never debilitate you.
How often do you feel fear at work? Have you given much thought to this?
Note: Interestingly, the New York Times column is written by Tony Schwartz whose work is profiled in an article I referenced recently in my post: Renewing Your Energy Matters As You Manage
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It’s Halloween, a time of year that focuses on fear and the supernatural. Is there anything that scares or spooks you as a manager? Don’t let fear get the better of you. Best to confront any fears you have and let them go. That scary ghost may only be a kid in a sheet. Fear never serves you and can grow in your imagination way beyond reality. Wishing you treats rather than tricks.
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Acceptance of the unknown is central to our ability to risk, to move forward and to master new skills and experiences. To succeed in work and life, we must face the fear we have of the unknown. It is not an easy task to let fear go completely, but we must face it and not let our fear of the unknown control how we work and live our lives.
One way to begin to release our fear is to start looking at the unknown as the adventure it truly is. We can create small unknowns such as taking a day off, making no plans and seeing what shows up. Or, leading your team in a time of uncertainty, by directly identifying the presence of the unknown and finding ways to navigate it and see it as an adventure The definition of adventure is: an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity. Note the use of the word hazardous in the definition. That speaks volumes about our society’s view of the unknown. We can prepare for hazards, yes but also put our focus on the exciting and unusual.
The unknown can lead to innovation, unexpected successes, new experiences and exciting discoveries. The next time you encounter the unknown, approach it as an adventure and see what happens.
photo: Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Is freedom anything else than the right to live as we wish? Nothing else. – Epictetus
There is a lot involved in freedom. Is it simply the right to live as you wish? Many times you hear the phrase what price freedom? That question presupposes a price for having freedom.
I think freedom is, to a great extent, determined by the choices you make. What choices have you made in your life regarding your freedom? Do your choices give freedom a priority over other aspects of your life or do other considerations trump freedom?
Freedom runs a wide spectrum. For some, life can be severely restricted by outside forces, very difficult to control. However, for many of us, we have room within which to choose the level of freedom that we have and the price does not have to be feared. Often, society scares us away from freedom in our individual lives by saying that freedom and security are counterbalanced. As you gain freedom, you lose security. To have security, you give up freedom. I think these are false constraints.
Freedom is a factor in managing, as well. How much freedom can you give each individual in an organization? Here too, we are told freedom leads to anarchy and high risk, so has to be constrained. I think the best approach is to value freedom for the creativity, enjoyment and productivity it can bring for your team and to explore ways to allow it to flourish within your organization.
Freedom is too important to let society or others tell you how much of it you can have. You make that decision.
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