Is Your Company Guilty of a Workplace Culture of Fear? Here Are 3 Ways to Know

Last week, we talked about both why you should consider working towards workplace transparency, and how to start working towards it.

But one of the biggest killers of a transparent workplace and a great corporate culture is fear. Not only does it ruin your employer branding–it can really mess up productivity and growth, as well.

To truly figure out if fear permeates your organization, have a look our 3 signs below:

The employee façade

Though it might be difficult to see, your employees might not be productively burning the midnight oil like you might think. A common sign that fear is king is when your employees try to appear like busy-bees rather than actually being one. As a CEO, it might be hard to tell, but team leaders should have a better idea as to how well their teammates work by gauging the input and output of their efforts.

This can be bad for a company. In this instance, rather than concentrating on being productive, employees would rather look productive, which does nothing but waste your time and their own. But to a leader who is unaware of what their employees are doing, it might seem like Jon Smith is simply skipping out early because he is lazy.

If an employee finishes their work earlier than scheduled, then there should be nothing but praise for them–and not the opposite. 

The exploding leader

Being a little frustrated is okay, but if you find yourself or another leader exploding quite frequently and thinking to yourself, “this could’ve been avoidable,” then chances are fear is the culprit. Employees are less likely to tell you about the bad things going on if they are afraid you will blow up at them. Lack of communication as the result of fear can really put a damper on productivity, causing you more trouble in the long run. 

The appeaser

Another way to tell that there is fear mongering in the company is if your employees readily and full-heartedly agree with everything and anything you say. If this is the case, then chances are they’re simply trying to appease you because they’d rather make you happy than tell you the truth. This can be really destructive to the creativity and growth of the company.

If an employee sees an error they shouldn’t be afraid to speak up. Avoiding the situation will do nothing but result in an exploding leader situation, and as we mentioned before, that can cause a lot of trouble.

Assessing whether or not your company is plagued by a culture of fear can be difficult, especially if you aren’t honest with yourself. As a leader, whether you are the CEO or a manager, you need to constantly be checking yourself if you want your company and employees to flourish.

Know of any signs of a culture of fear that we didn’t mention? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!