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Workplace Fears That Hurt Your Business and How to Manage Them

Mar 12, 2008
No other emotion has the same stopping power as fear. Everyone, across all countries and cultures, has at one time felt this powerful emotion. When introduced into the workplace, nothing else saps the efficiency from you or your workers faster than fear.

What is the key to running an unstoppable business? "The source of innovation is a place of fearlessness where we are not trying to force things to happen," says Gayle Gregory, motivational coach, leadership consultant, and co-author of the book "The Grand Experiment: An Expedition of Self-Discovery." Gregory feels that the key to an unstoppable business is identifying and eliminating the fears present in the minds of its employees.

There are seven fundamental fears present in the human psyche that Gregory feels appear in everything, from our personal lives to our careers. Although the fears are not always conscious, they have a profound effect upon the creativity, interactivity, and efficiency of the working environment. Everyone in the workplace, from those at the top to those at the bottom can find some aspect of all seven fears within them. "The seven fears are universal," Gregory observes.

"The world just is," advises Gregory, "You give it meaning." Fear is not about the world being a scary place, rather it is an individual's own perspective determines their intimidation level. There are thousands of possible ways to interpret the situations presented everyday. How you react is your decision, Gregory challenges. To dismantle the fear of the world, make a conscious decision to be proactive about a challenge rather than react negatively.

To determine the unstoppability factor of your workplace, you must first identify the fears that are present within it. When fear is present, employees are dissatisfied with their jobs, and lose passion for the work they do. Without this passion, your employees' creativity and power of innovation moves elsewhere, away from the workplace, decreasing the force your business achieves. "Go out into the workplace and find out what prevents people from doing their work," Gregory says, "Why are they standing around vending machines having conversations? What are those conversations about? Its all fear based."

The next step to making your company unstoppable is to take the power out of each fear. Most managers and leaders find the process is difficult at first because it requires open discussion and admission of individual fears. Few employees are comfortable being so open. "The only thing that holds fear in place is our unwillingness to look at it," Gregory shares, "As soon as you place your fear out on the table, it begins to dissolve and lose it's power." Gregory teaches managers to take the initiative and lay out each of the specific fears to be discussed. This proactive method creates a shared purpose that goes a long way to managing the discomfort associated with sharing personal fear.

Gregory, who once held a lucrative position in a Fortune 500 company, left to explore the human condition by sailing to Mexico. Through her own introspection and spirituality, while sailing the Sea of Cortez, she realized what she learned about human fears realized had held her back. Knowing how costly fear can be in a work environment, Gayle now enjoys motivating and energizing the business world by purging their workplace fears, which she sees keeping all companies from reaching their fullest potentials.

A competitive business needs to be perceived as bold and innovative. Fear prevents a company and it's employees from reaching that edge of efficiency. In an enterprise where fear is present, internal conflict turns into a lack of cohesion and teamwork. If a worker is struggling with personal fears or busy covering their back, then they are not putting their energy into improving their company.

A business that is has fighting amongst its workers cannot also effectively fight its competition. "We're so busy competing with each other that we forget to compete with competitors in the marketplace," warns Gregory. Fear that there is not enough resources, time, favor, and other commodities for all breed individualistic attitudes rather than team players and undermine the innovative ability of a team. To stop this, encourage an attitude of even cooperation among your employees. Employees that are afraid to share their ideas or work together cripple the overall productivity of the workplace with their fears.

Ultimately, the unstoppability of your business lies with your decision to expose fears rather than let them rest. A fear kept in the dark, no matter how small, decreases your company's performance. Even if your business achieves its highest visions for the future, you are settling for far less than your maximum potential when you do not dismantle the fears within the organization and individuals. The resulting environment expands exponentially the vision of what you and your enterprise can do. "When you take the fear away, the automatic outcome is you energize your performance," says Gregory.
About the Author
Randy Gilbert 'Dr. Proactive' enjoys producing "Inside Business Success" with host Jan Schleicher. Get Gayle Gregory's podcast for free by visiting: Gayle Gregory Build your company's Morale and Stop Business Fear
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