A workplace culture of fear is never normal

In Innovation, News by Arthur van Gerven


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A workplace culture of fear is never normal

We could not believe our eyes. It was really, prominently on the front page of the NRC: "Fear can become normal in an organization"

It should not get any crazier! We are acting against this statement. As SHARE360 we believe that an Angst culture should NEVER become normal in an organization! It is devastating for the involvement and motivation of the people, killing for the trust in the organization and extinguishing all initiative and creativity. The fact that there are now major articles about fear culture that show that this phenomenon is no longer an incidental phenomenon, but a growing problem. To change that is not easy, fear culture is anchored in the unconscious and invisible layers of people and of the organization.

What causes a fear based culture?

Organizations are pushing harder and harder to achieve their results and are working with tighter targets. That pressure produces fear of failure and stress about not being able to adequately meet expectations. Because if you do not deliver, you will be replaced ... The pressure on people keeps rising: through the focus on short-term results, the call for even more growth, the ever faster changes in the market and the increasing regulation. In this race, man has become out of the picture and has become subordinate to the results.

Why is a fear based culture being accepted for this long?

We see a number of causes for this:

  • The interpretation of the prevailing culture as a culture of fear is scary, you put your head above the ground that makes you vulnerable.
  • The recognition of fear is a taboo and is often interpreted as a sign of weakness. When you talk about your fear, you admit that there is someone else who scares you.
  • Many place the responsibility of a culture of fear on the boss, and do not feel responsible for the culture of fear themselves. But the reality is that the choice to continue working in a culture of fear keeps that culture afloat. To admit that to yourself is hard to swallow.
  • There is no place in the organization to make the fear culture safe to discuss.

What to do?

  1. Recognize the culture of fear and enter the DIALOGUE with the whole organization:
    To enter into a dialogue we have been somewhat forgotten in organizations. Often one communicates in silos or sends a survey or an email, but that is something very different than having a real dialogue. And yet every good relationship starts with a dialogue, in which both sides listen to each other and move in the perspective of the other.
    Recognize the existing culture and clearly state that a culture of fear is not normal and unacceptable. And enter into the reflective structural dialogue with everyone in the organization. This can easily be realized with new technology with and for all people (anonymously or by name).

  2. Take as leader the INITIATIVE and give the good yourself EXAMPLE:
    Engaging and embracing a culture change requires courage. Yet it is the leaders who can initiate a new momentum, create space for change and give a structural commitment. They can set a good example themselves by showing consistent behavior and taking the lead in the change themselves.

If this resonates and you want to talk further about the power of the dialogue call Gert Askes 0652699292 or Lucienne Koops 0655363602. Or check out SHARE360.com

Arthur van Gerven

Arthur van Gerven

Challenging the Status Quo, searching for structural Improvements with strong Client centric view and supporting teams to be successful are key words for the skillset of Arthur. He combines an extensive experience in Global Executive leadership, Operations & Supply Chain management, Innovation & Lean Continuous Improvement, Marketing and Business Development with a very open flexible innovative mindset that helps organizations to achieve sustainable value. He has delivered value in multiple sectors like Retail, e-commerce, healthcare, defense, hi tech. He also developed and launched the global 4 PL product for a large globale logistics provider.
Arthur has held International senior leadership positions within the Dutch Armed Forces and several global Logistics Providers and currently holds 1 Supervisory position.
Arthur van Gerven

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