Fear kills productivity in the workplace, and until we get rid of it we will always have team members who work underneath their potential. Fortunately, fear doesn’t have to rule our organizations. That comes at a price, however. We as leaders must make intentional choices to lead differently. In order to remove fear from our culture, we must replace it with something else.
That something is faith. And to lead by faith, we must exchange some personal behaviors for others. We must make trades that focus on the potential results of success for our team rather than the potential ramifications of failure for our team.
Here are three trades you can make to lead by faith instead of fear:
Trade suspicion for trust.
We’ve all had the moments as leaders when a team member shows up late to a meeting, or is late to work, or forgets to do an assignment on time. What’s our first thought when this happens? Probably something like, “They didn’t care about this”.
As leaders, it can be easy to assume the worst about someone when something doesn’t go right. More than likely, that person wasn’t ten minutes late because they didn’t care but because they couldn’t get their teenage son out of bed and to school on time, or their alarm clock didn’t go off that morning. Great leadership takes a dose of healthy naivety. Healthy naivety means making the choice to believe that people have good intentions even when it would be easy to believe otherwise.
Trade intimidation for inspiration.
If employees feel intimidated in the workplace, it will dampen their creativity and drive. Until your team finds security in their job they will never live up to their full potential because they won’t be able to help but think about what each thing they do means for their standing with the company.
The best leaders don’t say, “If you don’t do this, these will be the consequences”. The best leaders say, “If you do this, these will be the results”. Which sounds better? “If you don’t get this done, I’m not sure we can keep working you this many hours” or “If you can get this done, I really think you can become an established part of this team.” Inspire your team to results by showing them the best possible action that can lead to the best possible outcome.
Trade demanding the best for believing the best.
Many leaders allow fear in their culture by demanding the best of their team with negative implications if the team doesn’t live up to that standard. The best leaders know that believing the best always gets more out of their team than demanding the best. When we demand the best, we tell our team all that they must do to live up to a standard. When we believe the best, we tell them all that they could be and trust them to live up to the expectation. As leaders, we must believe the best of our team instead of demanding the best of our team.
Today, make the choice to lead every person through faith and not through fear. Trust, inspire, and believe in your team and watch how the creativity and productivity of your team soars.
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