Managing Fear

The post, Root Causes of Crunch Mode from the Game Manager blog makes the good point that

Fear and anxiety are known to reduce comprehension and learning ability. W. Edwards Deming made “drive out fear” one of his 14 management changes America needed to make in order to compete with Japan. Fear is a valuable physiological reaction in some situations, but fear make(s) it difficult to think, and thinking is generally superior to fighting in most corporate settings.

A good article on this topic is, Managing Fear by Gerald Suarez (who I worked with for several years). There are also 3 videos on this topic by Dr. Suarez, available from Management Wisdom, the producers of the Deming Library videos. I must admit I didn’t really understand the effects of fear and anxiety on performance until hearing Dr. Suarez speak on the topic many years ago.

From the Managing Fear article:

Fear erodes joy in work, limits communication, and stifles innovation. Fear fosters short-term thinking as people search to avoid reprisal, perhaps at the expense of others in the system.

Fear also produces questionable data, as people tend to focus on eliminating the threat instead of working to achieve the desired positive outcomes.

See previous post: Targets Distorting the System

John Hunter

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