Blog with Joel Brookman

Fear in the Workplace

The biggest impediment to creating a great work environment is fear in the workplace. Fear causes people to justify their actions, “suck up” to superiors, and “cover their asses,” all of which negatively impact productivity, security, and job- satisfaction.

If we can mitigate fear we can help to create a great work environment. Here are some thoughts on how to do it:

Make merit the basis for promotion

If someone gets promoted, nobody should be surprised at the decision. Promotions should not be based on corporate politics or favoritism. If you are in a management role, merit should be the sole driver for getting ahead and ensure your people understand this.

Systematically eliminate bad attitudes from your workplace

Bad attitudes destroy morale and can lead to the demise of an otherwise great organization. When you have an employee with a bad attitude let them know in no uncertain terms that you are instituting a zero tolerance policy. If that doesn’t work, manage them out.

No Complaining without a solution

When people complain, ask them what they propose for a solution. Complaining for the sake of complaining solves nothing and can destroy morale in an office. If you are the person complaining, come prepared with your solution to correct the issue.

Rally behind people in their time of need

I have witnessed many people in my organization that have been diagnosed with serious illnesses. I’ve also witnessed the response by senior management. In every case it begins with “take care of yourself and your family and your role will be waiting for you when you are ready.” In several situations the entire business rallied behind the sick employee by having huge groups of colleagues enter charity events, such as road and bike races in honor of their ill co-worker. This has an amazing impact not only on the affected employee and their family, but also has a way of putting things in perspective for everyone involved. The loyalty generated is priceless, especially when the company itself becomes a large sponsor to the cause.

Create a culture of mutual respect

If people at every level are treated with respect it dramatically reduces fear in the workplace. It begins with the acknowledgement that everyone has something to offer and that no one is better than anyone else. You may be more senior, have a better title, or carry greater responsibility, but none of that is a justification for disrespecting others.

Posted by Joel Brookman in Job security, Management, managing people, productivity, Uncategorized.


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