Fear: It’s What’s Stopping Innovation Within Your Team

“Fear is crippling, so why be a demagogue when we want individuals to act on a movement and further it?”


I often talk to authority figures, both big and small, and every once in a while the topic of fear comes around. Many say that a little fear can help “motivate” subordinates and that it is often better to be “feared than loved.” Truthfully, that idea has never sat well with me. Sure you want to make sure your subordinates stay in line and there can be scenarios where individuals have trouble keeping their authority identity in check (i.e. boss/girlfriend, parent/friend) but why use fear to hold onto power and robotize individuals? I am sure Machiavelli would have loved the concept of robotic, fearful followers but in a creative, business atmosphere that strives on innovation, would you still want that?

As Seth Godin recently said, “fear cripples.”  If you are in charge of an organization, why would you want your workers to be immobilized by the fear you instill. Fear often clouds our thoughts and keeps us timid. It often curbs expressive behavior, creativity and innovation. If you use fear to program your workers to do exactly what you want the way you want it, then how are you making their job rewarding? Where do you think their loyalty will fall? How are you cultivating great ideas within your organization?

You’re not.

You have to let your team breathe. Create an atmosphere where idea sharing is easy to do and you will soon find that the people you spend hours with have personality and great ideas to share. Think of the untapped resources at your disposal. You need to be efficient, innovative, and creative to make it these days. Engage your team and bring out the best in everyone, now that’s true leadership. After all, we are trying to reach the top of the Maslov’s pyramid here folks.



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4 responses to “Fear: It’s What’s Stopping Innovation Within Your Team”

  1. elvalentino says :

    It’s really cool that we see eye to eye on a couple matters. This is defiantly one of them. I remember working as an apprentice chef in a resteraunt it was my first job and I was only new.. within myself I knew that if my boss had been guiding and shown me some investment I could of become a very good asset to his company.. eventually though things tore apart, the person above me started treated me with dis-respect and showing up at work seemed like more of a chore to face those faces being fearful.

    It’s good that you realize this also, a really good concept I was looking into the other was servant leadership. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Servant_leadership

    Through qualities of

    listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, growth and building community

    The leader is able to obtain GENUINE and deserving authority as opposed to just power.
    Once I finish my studies on self-discipline I’m going to delve into learning about
    Servant leadership and attempting to embody it’s qualities.

    It might be something good for you to take a look at too if your up for it.
    I’ve been recommended the book “The servant and the monk” but one called “The Servant Leader” by – Robert P. Neuschel looks good too

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  1. The economy of fear | justinewrites - May 26, 2011

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