People literally give “the time of their lives” when they go to work each day. They will never get that time back, so how they spend their time and how they are treated and cared for is of the utmost importance. No one, no matter where they live and work, what role they have or what job they do, wants to live and work in fear. That’s why this week’s Kind Leadership focus is on recognizing fear. Because when you see (and feel) fear, chances are, there’s unkind leadership.
When people are fearful, there are three types of ways they will act. The first is Fight. People will argue, disagree loudly, or even have physical altercations. The second is Flight: People will avoid situations, miss meetings or cancel coaching sessions. The last is Freeze, in which people get stuck! They don’t turn in assignments even though they say they will, or procrastinate.
When someone acts this way, as leaders, we need to ask ourselves, “What is that person afraid of? What negative consequence has happened to them before? Did a leader laugh at them? Demote or fire them?” And when you behave in fearful ways, you need to take time to reflect on what unkind leadership you experienced that is making you feel, and act, that way.
Unkindness and unkind leadership, leads to fear, and when people are fearful, they can’t learn, grow, create and blossom.