Fear in the Work Place
Most of us have had an experience of working in an environment marked by fear. Sometimes it’s really obvious and everyone can spot it. But, sometimes it is not so easy to spot. In these cases there are the “unwritten rules” that staff live by. Examples of these rule would be “Do not ask questions, just do what you are told.” or “The managers know how the world works. I only follow instructions.” Maybe it’s the water cooler comments like “I could never actually tell them the the truth,” or “I just do what I’m told and get on with my work” down to the defeated tones of “it’s not my opinion that counts, he isn’t interested in what I think,”.
Words like “fairness”, “contribution”, “acknowledgement”, “integrity” and “accountability” are so easily thrown around when we design our values as leaders and managers, but when we watch how we interact with one another we realise that these important values are not in place – even though they listed on posters on the walls.
So we need to ask ourselves : “What could it look like if we worked together without fear?”
What are some of the marked differences we could see? Whose responsibility would it be to design an environment like that? How would meetings, conversations, and conflict be experienced by employees and team members if there was no fear in the workplace.
The answers to these questions are what will drive you to courageously leading a shift in the culture around you to one that starts inviting more. It is the leader who is responsible for creating an environment that places high value on things like honesty, transparency, and collaboration.
A coach could assist a staff member to cope with a toxic environment and help them find processes and techniques to thrive. Team coaching is also effective for helping a team improve their culture and shift the collective behaviour to a more effective and desirable reality.