Fear of Flaying

If you want your organization to be a place that you, let alone anyone else, actually want to go to each day, a key component is this:
Ensure that all stress comes from outside, and never from within.

There are plenty of competitors out there who are even now plotting the death of your company. Plotting, and acting on those plots. Why in the world would you actually destroy it for them? If it's going to die, it's going to die, but make them fight for it, dammit! Make your work environment cohesive and supportive, so that everyone mans the ramparts together, instead of complaining about who got more arrows.

Human beings are interesting creatures, with certain behavior patterns built in. One of these is the herding instinct: When you identify a competitor as the enemy (and actually use that word; I dare you), you create a natural tendency for your employees to focus outward and rally together. If you also provide an environment where a single mistake does not have a punishment but a single success has a reward, and where people are allowed to learn by making mistakes (obviously, not the same mistake over and over again, for those of us who are a little puzzled by the idea of not flogging failure), your employees will feel empowered and actually begin to take risks.

Risks are where growth happens.

This is just as true for an organization as it is for a human being. And you know an easy and cost-effective way to mitigate even those mistakes? Assign a mentor - even from another department or division - who is a neutral 3rd party for your employee to chat with, bounce ideas off of, and commiserate with. Encourage them to participate in networking groups so that they can hear how other people in their role have approached issues. Praise them when they get it right, and force them to break down the error when they get it wrong, so that they are better prepared the next time.

If your grass doesn't grow fast enough, do you yell at it? Of course not! You add fertilizer and you water it. Fear of the lightning bolt from on high is how management worked in the 1950's (unless you worked at Apple during Steve Jobs' tenure, ba-dump-bum). It has been proven time and again to produce more waste than headway, and encourages chaos when you aren't around, because your employees can finally breathe.

Don't be that kind of company. Don't be that kind of manager. Or the people plotting your death may be your own.

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