The 'Fear Factor' and what you need to know about it

In Business as in everyday life a high percentage of our problems revolve around communication and cooperation.Establishing honest, clear communication and building an effective team has been cited in recent surveys as one of the top challenges for Managers and employees alike. And one of the key factors at the root of those problems is what I call the 'Fear Factor'.

Fear is one of our strongest feelings and in many ways is present every day in our personal and working environment.

The Fear I am referring to here is based on a perception of danger, not to our lives, but to our beliefs, concepts or ideas; our ways. When we perceive someone else's believes, concepts or behaviour as a threat to our own ways then we often react by defending our self (or ego).

In this way the 'Fear Factor' can act as a major roadblock in achieving honest and effective communication and cooperation.

So what is the solution? What can you do differently?

Recognise when the Fear Factor is active:

Recognise the Symptoms of Fear - it expresses itself externally or internally in forms of:

Aggression like anger, criticism, scolding, jealousy, blaming, defensiveness, resisting, judging or forms of Hiding like not expressing how one feels or not being honest.

Realise - most Fears (of rejection, failure, injustice, lack of control etc.) are linked to being afraid of not being liked, accepted or really understood.

Understand - that Fear is also an expression of caring for either the self (beliefs, concepts or wellbeing) or others (family, friends). To protect our ideas and beliefs we either 'fight or flight' (withdraw)

Observe - that this process is the same in everyone regardless of background, culture or education. When the 'Fear Factor' is activated in yourself or the other person, communication and cooperation becomes a challenge.

Take 4 steps to effectively deal with the 'Fear Factor':

Awareness - start with self-awareness. The best way to better understand others and their fears is by realising how the 'Fear Factor' works in you.

Recognise the symptoms. Where do you feel fear in your body (the abdomen, chest, throat?). What thoughts are activated? (Negative ones like being judgmental or defensive ones?). What feelings are active? (Insecurity, disapproval, doubt?).

Stop reacting! Observe what is happening inside you when communicating with others before you react. Watch for the symptoms of fear. You may know the expression 'talking is silver, silence is gold'; that is exactly what is needed initially. And once you feel calm - speak.

Practise every day by observing when communication and cooperation is effective and when it is not

Once you understand how the 'Fear Factor' affects you, you will also understand how it affects everyone else; the symptoms are always the same.

Start to identify the hidden Fears behind people's aggressions or lack of cooperation. Help them to recognise and overcome their fears by finding out what their worries, their concerns are. Then work together to find creative solutions.

From experience I know that successfully dealing with the 'Fear Factor' takes time and commitment. So if you would like some help to really get the hang of removing roadblocks to better communication and cooperation then consider arranging for a series of individual coaching sessions or a workshop for your whole team.

With my best wishes,


Author:. Christiane specialises in coaching Executives and their teams with managing change, achieving their objectives and developing their soft skills for lasting success.She is an EMCC accredited Leadership Coach & Mentor with a professional background of over 25 years experience as Senior Manager in internat... Go Deeper | Website

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