When starting your business, you were buoyed enough by your successes and tantalized enough by your future to overcome your fear. Being outside your fear, you were able to stay in the creative light and keep innovating. What about your employees?
In the current economic environment, fear of the business not growing and being profitable is tangible. And, it is inhibiting. You stand to “lose your shirt” and your employees, their paychecks and stable employment. Writing in Entrepreneur, Barbara Fredrickson, professor of psychology at UNC Chapel Hill and author of “Positivity,” describes the effect of fear as this: “Negative emotions undermine the brain’s capacity to think broadly and find creative solutions. The vise grip of fear and stress and the emotions they generate–anger, blame, panic, resentment, shame–limit thought to a narrow field that obscures options. In a work environment, negativity causes teams to lose flexibility and the ability to be curious.” Guiding your employees through their fear enables them to visualize a wide range of options to solve challenges at the company. According to Fredrickson, “Positive emotions expand awareness and attention when you’re able to take in more information, .. you’re able to connect the dots to the bigger picture.”
It doesn’t take a grand action to reduce fear, just frequent, small actions. One of the best ways to minimize the fear is by showing individualized appreciation and gratitude to the employees for their help in bringing specific aspects of the business to their current states. By developing a work climate where employees hear how their small tasks contribute to the well-being of the firm, they will begin to develop resilience against the fear of doing something new. This resilience will continue to strengthen, generating creativity and, in the end, courage to come on board with new directions of the business.
Reducing fear is not like an adventure book where the character blusterously proclaims I have conquered my fear and you can to; reducing fear is series of small gratitudes communicated well.