Fear in the workplace… How can we eliminate this?

Fear is one of those emotions that can have very negative influences on any individual working in an organization, even the whole organization itself.

When I talk about fear in the workplace, I don’t mean violence or intimidation, but fear that develops as a result of sanctions.

One important thing to remember is that fear does not develop without reason. It is the result of an action, incident or maybe a misunderstanding.

Fear can only do harm. It is founded in a culture of stress, anxiety, miscommunication, and you can go on.

It can lead to conflicts and unhappy employees, which leads to decreased productivity. In the end it can be devastating for your company. When Fear starts influencing your product/service: you start losing customers.

Why do employees develop this emotion?

Fear amongst employees can be generated by different factors. Some of these factors are:

– Change

– Threats to job security: not hitting the targets

– Making mistakes, and the different consequences thereof

– Disrespectful attitude of managers/colleagues: lack of respect

– Being laughed at

– Gossip

– Etc

How can leaders/managers identify these factors in their workplace?

Leaders and/or managers have a crucial Job; they are the ones who are responsible for a safe work environment. There are different ways to accomplish this.

Some of these methods can be by:

  1. Observation
  2. Talking openly with employees
  3. Two-way communication
  4. Clarity about what is expected
  5. Etc.

Leaders and managers have an important position in any organization. Leaders and managers have to be role models, listening and communication skills are a must.

They have to work with, and not against, employees. And together as a team, leaders and managers must do their utmost effort to eliminate factors that cause fear as soon as possible, before it causes any damage.

Leaders and managers have the responsibility to lead their employees, and of course the responsibility of making their employees MORE productive.

When employees feel like they are part of the company: feel happy and safe in the workplace, but also when they have a say in the company, these employees will undergo a change in their behavior. They will have a positive attitude at work, which in turn will lead to better quality at the end of the road.

Leaders just have to be open with their employees. Be open about changes, why the changes have to be implemented. The HOW can be done in collaboration with the employees.

Leaders have to empower their employees to make decisions, motivate them to participate, come up with new ideas, and really make them aware that: there are NO BAD ideas. BLAME culture has to be banished.

Communication is an essential part of the whole fear culture. Ineffective communication can cause the company to fall apart.

Communicate with the group (employees) on a regular basis. A two-way communication is the way to do this; it can be done in a large group and or in a one on one setting.

During every section, every time, there has to be mutual respect for similarities and differences between employees, but also between management and employees.

It’s about getting information, know what is living under the employees, and after that meet and brainstorm with the group, or maybe a team (improvement team) to come up with new ideas. Work these new ideas out, and make them happen. When employees see that their ideas added value to the organization, this will make them proud, and open to bringing more ideas to the table.

Employees have to feel at home and if they see management being open, fair, and also treat them as human beings they will come along.

This group will have the best ideas you can IMAGINE. They become engaged, and there is nothing more powerful then a group of engaged employees.

This definitely will take you and your organization to the NEXT level. A better product and/or service, and also what every quality management system is striving for:

Continuous improvement

5 thoughts on “Fear in the workplace… How can we eliminate this?

  1. What a good submission! Elimination of fear in workplaces is key to procedural conformance. This better achieved through involvement of employment in quality circle decision making and goal setting with explicit understanding of the WHY and HOW of the operations.


  2. How do we eliminate fear in the workplace? Practice the Deming Management Method (14 Points) with what Dr. W. Edwards Deming called the System of Profound Knowledge. Point 8, Drive out fear. By practicing the Deming Management Method eliminating fear would be a part of our day to day routine.

    Liked by 1 person

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