However, it can be easy to be unaware or turn a blind eye to this common problem. Why is this the case?
Most employees notice problems in the workplace environment. They might fear their peers or boss. The overall trepidation of losing their job or being rejected forces some people to remain silent. As a result, the vicious cycle of fear continues and grows.
In 1999, a Harvard Business School professor defined the need for psychological safety as “a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes.” Imagine the difference between an employee who has a legitimate fear of being shut down or humiliated. Compare this with an employee who gets excited about their ideas and brings them up in meetings or daily conversations. Imagine the difference in the quality of work and support in the workplace.
However, some people still wonder if eliminating fear from the workplace is actually achievable. They question whether striving for this goal actually brings about positive results. They wonder if speaking up will only create more negative repercussions and feelings. So what’s the point of breaking this cycle? Does it actually work?
Various studies show that providing employees with a safe, harmonious workplace improves productivity and dedication. Talents shine and cooperation is encouraged.
How can one nurture this in his workplace? Here are a few ways to promote psychological safety and eliminate fear from the workplace.
Keep an eye on the emotional culture to eliminate fear from the workplace.
Some managers tend to ignore the emotional state of their employees. Instead, they think that if it’s not their emotions, then it’s not their problem. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
A business environment saturated with negative emotions can be hard to work in. Instead of turning a blind eye, begin by paying attention to how employees interact with each other. Make mental notes when positive emotions result in positive performance and higher productivity, Then encourage and replicate the situation later.
To eliminate fear from the workplace, create a network of support and compassion.
Happy people are more productive and it’s the same for your employees. Happy employees produce better work.
Rather than discouraging peer and professional support, encourage colleagues to work together and provide social, practical, and emotional support. Don’t turn work into a competition. Instead, inspire peers to be happy for others’ success and celebrate together as a team.
Finally, set aside time to be a good listener. Have time scheduled to find out what is important to your employees. A business that values employees strives to improve the team atmosphere.
Encourage creativity and innovation to eliminate fear from the workplace.
Everyone has something to bring to the table. Some have a knack for public speaking, while others enjoy research or problem solving.
Use the large variety of skills present in the workplace to your advantage. Instead of attempting to handle everything yourself, encourage your employees to bring their particular skills and ideas to team projects.
This looks different for every business. Use monthly meetings to brainstorm innovative ideas. It boosts creativity and encourages new innovation.
After coming up with a list, assign tasks to employees who are most excited about them. This ensures goals are actually accomplished. It also encourages other employees to join similar efforts when they see their co-workers recognized for great outcomes. Then get ready to say hello to a revitalized company.
To eliminate fear from the workplace, inspire communication and engagement.
Engaging employees looks different for every company. However, it is true for every business that a psychologically safe environment is key for a healthy and growing workplace.
Be open to feedback and to learning what works for your team. Make sure to have individual conversations with each of your employees.
Conversations don’t have to happen every day. Fostering these interactions however, build trusts and respect.
If an employee has opportunities to communicate openly, they feel more connected and loyal. It is in this kind of atmosphere that every person feels encouraged to speak up and believes his work is worthwhile and important. When these virtues are upheld and respected by all, a stronger and more successful business develops.
TIGERS Success Series’ Genuineness micro-training builds the skills to achieve this.
Share your mission and vision to eliminate fear from the workplace.
Having an over-arching goal set for the entire business fosters a team atmosphere. Often, employees talk with each other at the coffee counter or over the printer, but when it comes to the work itself, they perform their work individually.
However, many business experts believe that only through cooperation — utilizing all the resources and working together — that improved productivity and adept problem solving occur. If you haven’t already, develop your organization’s vision statement.
What does your organization aspire to become and how would you like the business to operate? As a team, build a mission and brainstorm ideals or values that will help the company fulfill its vision. Then decide collectively on your behavioral norms so that fear is driven from the workplace and your vision and mission are realized.
Change is a process, and it does not happen instantly. Years of toxic work relationships can take a long time to heal.
However, supporting innovation and engagement produces results. Sharing values and group behavior norms inspire, motivate and engage employees. In the long, build commitment by identifying and reinforcing behavior that is beneficial for the organization.
Care to dig deeper in the this conversation on how to eliminate fear from the workplace?
The following articles share additional insights:
- Psychological Safety and Learning Behavior in Work Teams
- Are Employees Fearful of Their Own Good Ideas?
- 5 Ways to Make It Safe For Others To Speak Up
- Listening to Your Team Doesn’t Matter If They Won’t Speak Up
- Does Fear Motivate Workers – or Make Things Worse?
- Building A Sense of Teamwork Among Staff Members
- How to 6 – List of Strengths and Talents You May Have
Copyright TIGERS Success Series, Inc. by Dianne Crampton
About TIGERS Success Series, Inc.
We specialize in training your managers in group leadership skills that build workforce cooperation and high performance team dynamics. Scaled to grow as your organization and leadership performance grows, our proprietary Team Behavior Profile, Management and Project Team Leadership training workshops, and consultant/project manager licensing are based on the six principles that our extensive research found to be the right mix to make this happen.
Schedule a phone call to learn more or to invite us to present at your next organizational gathering.