Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fear Steer…

As the half yearly exams approach for most school kids in India, the level and intensity of threats to the child increases. If you don’t practice this, you’ll loose marks. If you don’t complete all the revision work today, you’ll get one fat one on your bum.

Kids in high school see a complete different level of threats…the threats near doomsday predictions. If you don’t get through to engineering, you’ll regret for rest of your life.

We practically grow up approaching any challenge with a heavy dose of fear!

Problem is, Fear has exactly the opposite effect on performance. Higher the fear, lower the performance.

There are those managers who drive via fear. From a somewhat direct, “If you don’t deliver this there will be trouble” to an outright threat like “If you can’t deliver this by Monday, start looking for a job”.

To be fair, it is important that consequences of missing a deadline or a commitment should be made clear and understood, but repeated such behavior points to an inherent problem in the management model.

Many times, the Manager can actually get short term results via this method but eventually this will be counter productive.

An effective manager empowers the team, such that individuals can take decisions and act on their own free will, in the right way and for the benefit of the product, team and organization.

However, Fear creates Inaction.

When fear prevails, people stop applying themselves and making decisions and may rather wait for somebody else to make a decision, or folks may take more time to analyze every what if scenario, before making a call.

Either way, it’s a loss of productivity.

Fear makes us focus on the ‘consequence’ as opposed to the task at hand. The goal becomes defensive, which is to make the least amount of mistakes…rather than excelling & exceeding at what we do.

Check your fear meter today…look at the last 10 decisions that you made.

…did you take the safe route repeatedly?
…did you delay the decision unnecessarily?
…did you defer the decision to someone else?
…did you create fear for someone else?

Is fear your steer? Think.


  1. really nice work... people often think that fear is a good motivator but it is actually a deterrent. parents should keep this in mind during the mid terms of their children.

  2. Nice article. My current fear meter is pointing at 0!

  3. On similar lines .. . We bank on lying.I can't still figure out why it is needed.