The paralyzing effect of fear on the workplace

The paralyzing effect of fear on the workplace

When you operate from a position of fear, you are very ineffective. Many businesses and their management don’t perceive the paralyzing effect of fear on the workplace.

Why people are not motivated by fear

If you threaten people with loss of job regularly when the budget is out of line or encourage them to not claim all of the hours they work, you create an atmosphere of fear. Yes, there are laws against this, but many companies still encourage people not to claim all their hours or set limits or tell them that if they work beyond a certain number of hours, they can’t claim them. Additionally, when you make everyone follow a set of rules with no variance, the paralyzing effect of fear will handcuff creativity.

What negative motivation will produce

Motivation can be positive or negative but negative motivation rarely gets positive results in the long term. When you emphasize the negatives, you will end up with workers who experience the paralyzing effect of fear and are afraid to be creative or do their job to the fullest extent. Fear trips you up, erodes your confidence, and ends up making an employee less productive.

The recent recession has made many people overly cautious and some management teams feel that everyone follows the same sets of rules exactly, they can avoid problems. Unfortunately, this often handcuffs an individual who has the kind of “out of the box” thinking that creates innovative ideas, processes, and products. The paralyzing effect of fear could easily be costing the company money.

Positive motivation and mindsets, on the other hand, invigorate the individual and make them more productive and more willing to be innovative. Research has proven that we don’t all have the same learning style and it is easy to recognize that other styles are also impacted. A recent book I read, “Bill’s Im-perfect Time Management Adventure,” described a company who had tried to get everyone to subscribe to the same time management system without any innovation. Some of the procedures in the system were very detrimental to success but the rigidity of adherence to the process meant that anyone who dared to try a different way would be chastised or punished.

Positive motivation and a willingness to foster an atmosphere of innovation will create productive workers who feel comfortable in adjusting processes to fit their personal model.

Sometimes, a company will recognize that the paralyzing effect of fear is destroying the workforce and make changes to implement a more positive atmosphere that reinforces  the  individual creativity of employees. Other times, an employee needs to leave when he recognizes that the mentality is destroying his ability to produce.

If it is time for you to leave and are ready to capture your success stories, learn more about how working together can help you find the job of your dreams here. 

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Julie Walraven, Design Resumes

Julie Walraven

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