Granted, there is a lot to be fearful about these days. But your workplace shouldn’t be one of them.

While work can be challenging and over-stimulating at times, your work team should feel confident that their leaders and decision-makers have their backs and are making decisions that not only benefit the company, but also benefit each of them individually.

As with so many organizational challenges, communication frequently lies at the center of critical issues and what to do about them.

Start with uncovering and analyzing what your workforce may be most concerned (and yes, fearful) about. The aftermath of the pandemic, international unrest, volatile economic conditions, family matters, health concerns, and on and on can be either assuaged or inflamed in the workplace. And while many of these “worry factors” may not be directly caused by or even related to the work your employees do, leaders who have their “antennas out” can be positive forces in this regard.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Does your organization promote open and honest conversation, or do you keep team members in the dark about what is going on in your company? Are they fearful or otherwise hesitant to ask questions?
  • Do you communicate frequently and honestly about the well-being of your organization? Human beings fill their own gaps when there is a void of information, and they may assume that because you are concerned or worried about something, they will be negatively impacted by it.
  • Do you share the good news as well as bad news?
  • Do you allow rumors to persist without addressing them directly and immediately?
  • Does bureaucracy overshadow what makes sense to your workforce in terms of their access to critical information? Are you perpetuating ways of doing business that builds walls rather than bridges?

If you find yourself falling prey to any of the above situations, what are some things you can do about it?

  • First, recognize it. Stop and consider what you may be doing organizationally and from a communications standpoint that leaves your team in the dark on matters that are important to them.
  • Dissect your level of bureaucracy and see if there are unnecessary layers of communicating that you can eliminate so that your employees can hear about important information directly from the top, when appropriate.
  • Create an atmosphere of open dialogue, where no question is off-limits or “none of their concern.”
  • If you are a larger organization, empower and encourage your mid-level managers to meet frequently with their direct reports and talk about any issues that are on their minds.
  • Make time for fun and relaxation! Bring in pizza for lunch, surprise them with a Friday afternoon off, celebrate birthdays, etc. Informal get-togethers inherently break down communication barriers.

The benefits of a non-fear-based culture include valuable input from all levels within your company, a trusting mindset even when times are tough, and a more creative approach to business issues that pervades the entire organization.

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