We are bombarded by these emotions through virtually every social media channel. What to fear and who to blame polarizes our political landscape. It causes otherwise rational folks to turn on their neighbor. When fear becomes part of a cultural norm, anyone who thinks differently, dresses differently or believes differently becomes suspect and cannot be trusted. It rots our civility.
It is likely that our staff bring this heightened sense of fear and blame to the workplace. If we are not thoughtful in our leadership, we can naively contribute to these negative emotional triggers and create an environment at work where trust and collaboration are replaced by fear and blame. Trust and fear cannot co-exist in the same place. Neither can blame and collaboration. Fear overpowers trust every time. Blame destroys collaboration.
Here are 5 ways we may be eroding trust as leaders - and without meaning to, creating an environment of fear and blame:
Fear and blame are the ultimate culture killers. When fear and blame creep into the company culture, the organization’s performance suffers.
It’s not always a major incident that thrusts fear and blame into the limelight. Fear slows organizations down, causes hesitation, drives stress, and keeps individuals from reaching their potential. Fear and blame lead to dissatisfaction and employees become disengaged. Total productivity for the organization as a whole becomes less than the sum of the individual parts.
Eliminating fear is all about building trust relationships at work. The more we can trust each other and work together, the more effective we’re going to be. We as leaders simply need to be mindful that our staff are surrounded by the noise of fear and blame every day. They simply can’t escape it outside of work. At the office, we must find a way to get a signal of trust through all that noise - not amplify the fear.
Michael is an executive coach, entrepreneur, investor, and strategist with 30 years of experience leading investor-backed, high-growth organizations.
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