I spoke at a professional organization state conference, SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) about the destructive nature of the f-word… FEAR in our organizations.
In my presentation, I incorporated some very important statistics from a survey conducted by SHRM at the national level. I revealed some serious challenges that our local and global organizations will likely face over the next ten years. Here are some of the highlights from that study:
- Top 3 challenges are retaining and rewarding the best employees, developing the next generation of leaders, and creating a corporate culture that attracts the best employees
- 43% of HR professionals indicated that obtaining human capital (us) and optimizing human capital investments would be their biggest challenge
- Most critical competencies include business acumen, organizational leadership, relationship management, and communication
- Most effective tactics to rewarding employees include flexible work arrangements; creating an organizational culture where leadership demonstrates and emphasizes trust, open communication, and fairness; opportunities for career advancement; demonstrating commitment to employee development; and providing meaningful work with clear purpose in meeting organization objectives.
This is an eye-opening list as the focus is all about the people: developing the people, creating a culture that lifts up the people, and providing the environment for people to connect their head and heart. All of this points to the need to tap into their passion with meaning.
However, one seemingly small act of injecting fear into the culture can have the effect of killing innovation, loyalty, and growth in a split-second. Fear is tricky because it has been the corporate “go-to” strategy for years, and we learned and we were taught how to “lead” with fear. True, fear will motivate people in a direction. But, be aware that using fear as a motivational tool comes with a price. The price of using that nasty “f-word” fear is:
- Robs people of potential
- Barrier of individual and organizational performance
- Affects individual and organizational quality of life
- Shifts focus away from productivity and innovation to CYA (cover your assets)
- Destroys trust and loyalty
- Causes silence and uncertainty. Just because people are not saying anything does not mean they have nothing to say.
- Kills long-term motivation and commitment
- Increases stress
- Grows resistance
- Shuts down ability to think creatively, collaborate, and bring passion/meaning to the job
- People check out (both literally and figuratively)
Is fear killing your organization?