Managing by Fear. A Cautionary Tale.

It made me sad to hear the other day when I heard  a company leader talk about how frustrating it had been to put on their summer function. This person had put a lot of time into the event and considered the interests of their employees to ensure that they would have a good time at the function. While the company had booked the event to take place in the afternoon, balancing both company time and minimizing personal/family time, there were a large number of staff who said that they couldn’t take the time off as they would fall behind in their work. This leader bemoaned that this often happens. Is this reason a legitimate excuse from staff or fear that if they take time away from their steady workload that pressure from management would follow.

I heard another story about how  a seasoned employee said to a  new staff member to just ‘keep their heads down and never plan to be a minute late from an out of office meeting’. Their manager even said, ‘Is it necessary to speak to your team beyond a greeting?’ This sounds absolutely archaic and surprising to know that this is actually still happening.

Has the economic climate injected so much blackness that the average employee can’t feel comfortable to take any additional time out of their work day? As far as I’m concerned work will always be there. And that’s a good problem. But good employees should not have to feel like they live in the company of a warden. These companies have some serious cultural flaws that need to be ironed out. The general expectation and demand of workflow needs to be addressed and understood that it is ok to take a break especially with your teammates and to let loose a little. Even if its just a minute or two.  It’s those moments together that bring the team closer. Needless to say the new employee left that medieval company.

~ Sarah McNeill

photo credit: Adam Foster | Codefor

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One response to “Managing by Fear. A Cautionary Tale.

  1. This post reminds me of a book I recently read called ‘The Happiness Advantage’: http://www.amazon.com/Happiness-Advantage-Principles-Psychology-Performance/dp/0307591549/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1313702096&sr=1-1 – this foray into the world of positive psychology speaks to the very human need for interaction, fun and collaborative energy to optimize output and overall life an career success.

    Fear lives in the negative world and there is significant data to support that negative outlooks and cultures driven by fear and negativity only have an adverse effect on productivity and success.

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