I have always believed people in business are at their best when they are fearless.
And I believe looking back I have always tried to manage my staff and businesses by encouraging fearlessness.
What do I mean by fearlessness?
Do what’s right.
Say what’s right.
Don’t worry, you won’t lose your job.
Don’t worry, you won’t lose the business.
Sometimes this attitude can put everyone on the team in a tough spot (but that’s kinda why someone like me gets paid the big bucks to protect them). But the alternative is employees running scared and looking over their shoulders.
And today it seems most employees are running scared.
I fear we have companies running scared when of all times we need to be fearless.
It is not difficult to understand given the current economy.
But I believe being scared is something managers and companies should be focused on now. To me this is a time when we should be encouraging employees to be looking forward, fearlessly seeking the right path for success and opportunities. Not only will it make your company stand out but I also believe it is the key to getting the economy back on track (Ok … one of the keys).
Employees running scared are investing wasted energy in worrying.
Employees running scared invest energy in non-business related things (cruising job sites & networking).
Employees running scared cannot be happy (and happiness is a completely underrated characteristic of productivity).
Of course not all employees have that DNA (and American business culture doesn’t necessarily encourage “do the same job great without seeking promotion”). And I am not proposing you can get an entire organization in this mindset (or you want to). You will always have the “I am going to do my job and whatever makes my boss and people happy” staff. And that’s cool. All organizations need a mix. You always need that core of people who just get the shit done.
But I would argue even these people would perform better if they weren’t running scared.
Creating the shift.
The challenge today is to get more employees to be fearless. Notice I didn’t say “safe.” Safe is defensive. Fearless is offensive in tone. By making that point I am also pointing out how huge an effort something like this will take today.
Getting people from safe to fearless is about creating energy.
Getting people from scared to fearless is about reversing energy.
It all starts at the top.
The upper management needs to walk the walk.
But it doesn’t end there because middle management has to buy in, and live it and not just say it. It won’t happen overnight and it won’t happen with everyone.
The key is to create a backbone of attitude throughout the organization that will steady everyone when there are moments of “digression” (which will happen).