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Recognising the Office Culture of Fear




I joined the company as a fresh faced employee, full of expectation and anticipation of what I could bring to the organisation.


First signs were positive. Welcoming staff, my peers were accommodating, and things were going well.


But slowly, following my 'work honeymoon period', things began to change - and not for the better. In fact the culture was always there. I just began to recognise it - the CULTURE OF FEAR.


I just began to recognise it - the CULTURE OF FEAR.

What do I mean by this?


Well a few characteristics that you may recognise if you have a fear cultured office:


  1. When key people come into the room, everyone is on edge and not giving eye contact to anyone, head down.

  2. People are afraid of taking ownership and responsibility for things, just in case it goes wrong

  3. Everyone mistrusts others. Cliques are common, collaboration between staff, non-existent

  4. There is a 'blame culture' in the organisation. People are ready to point the finger at others, to either deflect blame or to make them seem better than their colleagues

  5. People are constantly talking about whether they will keep their jobs

  6. This is exasperated when individuals leave the business, for no reason, followed by no communication from those in the business

  7. Individuals are not listened to or respected

  8. Ideas can only be derived from those propagating the fear. Other ideas are shot down.

  9. People are routinely shouted at or shamed for doing a bad job in public

  10. Staff who are promoted are those that propagate that same culture of fear


It does not take you to have a rocket science degree to understand that that the opposite of each of the characteristics above are characteristics of a GOOD office culture.


However changing it is easier said than done, especially if the protagonist is a key member of your leadership team.


A culture of FEAR will only get you so far. Then it falls apart, which could jeopardise the business too!!


Contact us if this is what you see in your organisation and we can work through ways to tackle this 'cancer' once and for all. Click here for more information.

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