Instilling Fear in Employees

Greg Elsey

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Poor management skills carry long-lasting effects, and may infect an entire organisation. The consequences of toxic, misguided leadership, reach far and wide.

Managers who instill fear tend to:

  • assign blame
  • withhold information
  • answer questions in vague, noncommittal ways
  • refrain from showing compassion
  • create a persona that appears unapproachable.
  • thrive on being unpredictable
  • Avoid documenting policies and procedures. They can then change policies and procedures at a whim
  • Have inconsistent policies. It is hard to be held accountable when policies are ambiguous, and nothing is clear.
  • Display favouritism
  • Have a lack of managerial presence

Instilling fear in employees creates a negative working environment. When employees are uncertain, they are fearful, they suffer from anxiety and stress, and are simply not going to work well, wasting time and resources. A negative work environment threatens morale and productivity.  Employees stop trusting and respecting management. They carry  the stress caused by uncertainty.

Ruling from an ivory tower feels isolating and elitist for subordinates.

Managers can instead:

  • create an environment centred on trust and honesty. 
  • Exercise transparency by openly sharing pertinent  information.
  • Instead of blaming others, take responsibility
  • turn failures into opportunities for learning and growth.
  • Keep policies consistent,
  • treat everyone fairly,
  • Be "present". Manage by walking around. When managers are present, they show that they view employees as equals.
  • Jump into the trenches with your employees, regardless of their level.

If you are a manager and see the benefits of coaching, please contact me and let's chat.

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