In companies, fear can take many forms: fear of not meeting a goal, of not getting a bonus, of losing decision rights and respect. Fear compels employees and managers to protect themselves by creating seemingly impenetrable barriers forti- fied by rules and practices that benefit one group while harming others.
If this sounds familiar, then you know that, left unchecked, fear-driven barriers can spread at an alarming rate in a company. Workgroups start to define success not by reaching the company’s overall goal, but by fulfilling their part of the process. Restrictive policies pile up until managers start to exert extreme control over headcount and resources. Other managers feel compelled to build empires — taking over other departments’ functions to regain or enhance their self-sufficien- cy. In the midst of these counterproductive activities, employees suffer, success deteriorates and efficiency dies.
While these barriers might seem insurmountable, they are not. By learning from the real-world lessons in Tom Rieger’s book, Breaking the Fear Barrier, lead- ers, managers and employees can overcome the barriers that plague their company. It takes courageous leadership and can be difficult, but the result will be nothing less than transformational.