10 Unmistakable Signs of a Fear-Based Workplace

This week's Friday resource comes from Forbes and lists 10 ways you can tell if your workplace is operating from a place of fear.

Motivation can stem from worry and fear, or it can stem from being in an environment where trust and strong relationships flourish. The source of motivation has a drastic impact on workplace culture—if motivation is coming from fear, culture suffers. The best leaders know fear-based motivation is the least-effective way to get the job done and leads to higher turnover and unhappy employees.

In a workplace culture where fear is the dominant energy, employees feel anxious and frequently worry about unwanted consequences including job loss. On the contrary, in a workplace culture built on trust, employees feel a sense of security and meet their objectives out of desire rather than fear.

Here are a few signs your workplace is operating from fear:

1. "In a fear-based workplace, everyone is focused on their daily goals. They have to be because if they miss a goal, they could lose their job. You won't get collaboration or innovation out of people who are scared to death!"

2. "In a fear-based culture, managers and HR people specialize in assigning work, measuring results, punishing infractions and maintaining order. In a healthy culture, managers and HR people specialize in listening to employees, problem-solving with them, celebrating successes and envisioning even greater successes!

3. In a fear-based environment, people are afraid to tell the truth because they already know no one wants to hear it. How do they know this? It's obvious, because the biggest truth of all - namely, "Our culture is horrible, but bad things happen to people who say so" is never acknowledged. It is the elephant in the room."

4. "In a fear-based company, people talk incessantly about who's up and who's down in the company stock index. The rumor mill is more credible than official communication. In a healthy company, managers and employees talk about sticky topics. They don't avoid them just because they are awkward to address."

5. "In a fear-based company, employees wonder whether they'll still have a job next week. A great performance review or an on-the-job triumph does not guarantee anyone another week of employment. People work under a cloud of fear and suspicion. Managers are afraid to recognize and reinforce their teams, because they might get in trouble for doing so."

Read more tips and watch the accompanying video here.

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