A friend shared that the company they work for is downsizing. They’re telling the remaining employees, “You’re going to have to work longer and harder, and get paid less.” And to make sure they really created more stress, they added, “And you’ll have to apply for your job every day.”

And if the employee doesn’t like it? “Tough. You can leave – and good luck finding a job.”

That’s one, big, hairy elephant standing in the way of a company realizing breakthrough success: Fear management works in the short term – maybe 21 minutes. And then after that: Employees begrudgingly do just enough to keep their jobs – and no more.

Fear management is ugly management that makes your stomach turn – and it’s not effective.

Gone are the opportunities where this company could get the coveted “discretionary effort” from employees. Gone are the creative solutions necessary to finding new ways to win in the “recalibrating economy”. Gone is the heart and soul of the company: Employees who care so much they identify with and work harder for the organizational and cultural brand.

For those managers who have marginal leadership skills, it can be awfully tempting to resort to fear-based management. When they do they’re telling the world: I don’t have the ability to lead any other way, other than through force and manipulation.

What these unskilled managers don’t realize is that they undoubtedly have one competitor who is doing the opposite – and therefore kicking their butt. Effective organizations know that more than ever employees are hungry to deliver excellence. In these companies they’ve transformed the “fight so you don’t lose” mentality into “fight to ensure we win”. The different results these two approaches create are striking.

How will you lead today so that those around you know you’re fighting for them? The more you do this, the more you create a culture where the sum is exponentially greater than the parts.




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