Posted in leadership

Fear Fighters


 fear fighters

 The gladiator is someone willing to ‘fight to the death,’ often attacking others personally in his/her self-appointed quest of spreading fear. New ideas brought up by others are often met with ‘blistering attacks’ and ‘take no prisoners’ attitude.

The boss holds the power of the position and makes all the decisions. Employees will go along with the ‘company line’ but are they secretly resisting it?

The debater becomes pitted against another debater with an opposing view. Arguments continue beyond any useful solutions until one or the other ‘wins’ or usually they are both frayed and exhausted and no decision has been reached.

The majority ruler which is a polite form of the gladiator. Even in landslides there are 40 percent or more who are unhappy.

The briber who states, “give me what I want now and I’ll give you want you want later.”

The blackmailer who states, “give me what I want or I’ll hurt you by….”

Within this group of fear fighters, there is the underlying assumption that after the bloody battle of wits is over, the truth will prevail. But does it? Organizations that allow this behavior (whether cloaked as civil debate, courtroom rules of arguing, or loud shouting matches) to continue are treating people worse than they treat their production equipment. Intelligent businesspeople do not pit their machines against each other to see which one will destroy the other one, believing it will be better for the organization and its people. Yet many leaders allow this for their employees in some sort of twisted Darwin’s survival of the fittest contest.

In contrast to these are three nonconfrontational types:

The placater never puts his/herself in the line of fire. S/he spends time restating someone else’s point of view or not engaging in tough issues.

The polyana ignores tough issues, hoping they will disappear without his/her involvement.

The whiner is so unpleasant people will concede his/her point just to stop the nuisance. The whiner’s passive-aggressive behavior is especially unpleasant.

By avoiding issues and making their coworkers’ lives miserable, these people also create an unpleasant and unproductive work environment. To make successful decisions with some or all of these members on your team, try,

  1. Positive statements such as ‘we can do this together’ or ‘I don’t know what the solution is but we can work together to find it.’
  2. Upbeat feelings such as energy, confidence and esprit de corps.
  3. Affirmative behaviors such as being willing to listen, having more patience, and being alert to new opportunities.
  4. Constructive relationships developed by cooperative attitudes and concerns that the solutions will serve everyone.
  5. Identify what is truly important to each person present.
  6. Tap into each person’s creative spirit and give everyone the opportunity to express it.
  7. Find common ground to build on.
  8. Multiply prospects for successful results.
  9. Provide criteria for evaluating results.
  10. Give all involved a reason to celebrate.

Final thought: Be aware of your own cycles of fear and hope. Write down your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and relationships with others. These are the clues to determine the frame of mind you’ve chosen. Your choices will make a big difference for you and the people with whom you work. Choose hope not fear.




Dr. Sheila Embry is a govie, author, pracademician, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend who loves to read, write, think, and laugh. Many of her blog postings are summaries or excerpts of books that she read and wants to share to encourage others. An author with more than 25 years experience within the legislative and executive branches of the U. S. federal government holding 3 accredited degrees: Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, Master of Arts in Human Resources Development, and Baccalaureate of Business Administration, she believes in continuing learning both on and off the job. She has been recognized with multiple professional and writing awards for her peer-reviewed, publications. Click the bibliography page above for a listing of all the publications.

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