A new leadership book titled, “Breaking the Fear Barrier” tells us what we already know: Fear is killing us and corporations. According to a review in the Globe & Mail the book is about the harm caused by people in corporations who are acting in fear. And, as you know, most everyone is acting in fear – to some degree. Many fear losing their jobs, their pay, their bonus, their office. Employees are after all simply human beings trying their best to secure their safety. And they do this in a way in which makes complete sense in corporations where turf warfare is rewarded and individualism has run rampant. If managers really want to control the fear that is epidemic, they cannot do so on an individual basis. They must challenge the corporate system and all its habits and practices that cause the fear. For example, telling people why someone got fired or encouraging candid feedback without risk to employment. We have created this system and it’s up to us to dismantle it. We can no longer encourage fierce competition between individuals and groups. We need to create some sense of job security. If companies really want to reduce fear they will create a less fearful place where looking out for the “greater good” is rewarded. As long as we treat employees as dispensable, they will act in fear. No sense trying to mange individuals when it’s a systemic problem. A great book on this topic is “The Corporation” by Joel Bakan.
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