The High Hidden Costs Of Fear In The Workplace

The High Hidden Costs Of Fear In The Workplace

  • Potential problems which could be proactively addressed are not identified
  • Meetings are not used productively
  • Mistakes are more frequent
  • People do not volunteer for new or different responsibilities
  • Time needed to learn new responsibilities is increased
  • Employees are suspicious and distrustful of other employees, and management
  • Management is suspicious and distrustful of employees and other managers
  • Decisions are made and problems are solved at higher levels of the organization than necessary
  • Employee turnover results in downtime as well as a costly learning curve for new personnel
  • Ideas for new products and services are not generated, resulting in missed opportunities and profits
  • Culture of fear breeds fearful, suspicious customers who buy less or buy from other vendors
  • Business networks are not used for maximum impact, resulting in lost opportunities for new customer or vendor relationships and lost business

How Fear Is Manifested In Organizations

  • Meetings in which little disagreement is expressed, with people quickly conceding to the leader’s point of view
  • People doing just what is expected, taking little initiative, and looking to management for day to day direction
  • Low morale which is not improved by employee recognition awards other ceremonial overtures from management
  • An overactive rumor mill in which people try to create meaning and context out of their fear
  • Defensiveness and resistance around performance evaluation
  • Reluctance to provide 360 degree leader feedback
  • Employees are overly critical of management, and management is overly critical of employees
  • Turnover, both voluntary and involuntary, is increased
  • Absenteeism is increased, as are reports of stress related illness and behaviors
  • Productivity is decreased, and small crises erupt which are delegated upward to management for resolution


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