Breaking the Fear Barrier


breaking-the-fear-barrier-rieger-en-17292_0x200Breaking the Fear Barrier : How Fear Destroys Companies from the Inside Out and What to Do About It (2011)
By Tim Rieger

Fear destroys employees morale, making organizations inefficient and destroys them. Most employees will choose protective self interest when choosing between what is good for themselves and what is good for the companies.

People generate this fear, so people must undo it.

Fearful people sees working for their organizations as being prison. No matter how individual organizations describe their blockage, the problem always boiled down to fear.

Fear makes the environment more bureaucratic and less efficient, robs employees of energy and erects wall that separate people. Walls may serve the limited interests of certain internal groups, but they undermine a firm’s overall mission and focus.

Two Types of Courage

Researchers Shane Lopez and C.R. Snyder developed the organizational concepts of “vital courage” – the steps people take to defend their personal survival – and “moral courage” –what employees do on behalf of their organizations rather than themselves.

In companies stymied by fear barriers, leaders often expect staffers to demonstrate “moral courage at the expense of vital courage.” That is, they expect employees to sacrifice for the company,and to put it above their personal well-being with no commensurate reward. Instead, leaders should establish conditions under which employees feel motivated to be morally courageous. Do this by providing incentives for both self-interest (vital courage) and self-sacrifice (moral courage).

Insecure managers undermine courage in others by attempting to maintain control and by intimidating their staffers. Such managers are inconsistent, blame others and play favorites, often rewarding subservience. Executives should openly address these managerial issues.


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