It’s not often I get to mention W. Edwards Deming and Frank Herbert in the same sentence. When it comes to the topic of fear in the workplace however, both are inextricably linked.
Deming was the quality and management guru who along with his peers shaped many of our management practices today. Herbert was the science fiction author best known for the classic novel and series Dune.
Deming in his 14 Points for Management implored managers in point 8 to: Drive out fear.
Herbert in Dune suggested: Fear is the mind killer.
Both were right.
Fear is the cancer in our minds that eats away at self-esteem. It takes our hopes and dreams and convinces us that we’re not worthy or capable or both.
Fear is the tactic of dictators and tyrants in the workplace. Lousy leaders, miserable managers and boss bullies use fear to manipulate others into following…and cowering.
Both kinds of fear—internal and externally imposed—are toxic. Both are capable of being neutralized.
Internal fear is an issue of self worth. Most people I coach who struggle with self-esteem learn over time that their fears have no basis in reality. Given encouragement to try and to learn and to improve, self esteem grows and fear dissolves.
Boss Bullies thrive on intimidating people who allow themselves to be intimidated. When faced with someone willing to stand up and fight, they often back down. And yes, standing up to a boss bully comes with risks. Sometimes you have to make a choice. What’s worse: being beaten down and robbed of your humanity or losing the paycheck? There’s another paycheck out there without a boss bully attached to it.
Say “no” to the fear that holds you back—whether it comes from within or it is imposed on you by a jerk.
Life is too short and you have too much potential to let fear rob you of your future.
Strike out fear. Fear is the mind killer.