Here is a funny thing you may not think about very much at work; fear. Most people wouldn’t say they are afraid when they are at work but they use other clever words such as anxious, overwhelmed or “busy”. Now, you may not think of some of those statements or descriptions as expressing the emotion of fear but read on. Now, in this episode we are also going to bring in a very rich psychological construct known as “cognitive dissonance”. If that sounds complicated, fear not (pun intended). We will make it all clear. Fear is the big thing that is often going on in any conversation and especially in those that are getting stuck and not moving along. But how does this fit in with cognitive dissonance?
Have you ever noticed that when we give someone feedback that one of their first responses is to rationalize and justify their results or behavior? Well, part of this is driven by wanting to protect the “image” they have created and more importantly, to protect the part of them that is one thing and not another. In other words, if I see myself and doing a great job and suddenly get feedback that I’m not, my mind wants to sort this out very quickly and make things line up. Without doing that, things become pretty frightening because now our world view is suddenly destroyed. Also, people don’t do this consciously or because they are narcissists. It just happens. So, understanding how fear shows up in situations and with people really supports us in becoming better leaders and being of greater levels of service to each other.
Another important thing you may want to know about fear is that there are actually four fear patterns, not just two. There are fight, flight, freeze and faint and they all show up in a different way. Listen to the show to hear them all and also to get the antidotes.
How does fear show up at your office and in your work? How have you learned to manage it?