Now that Halloween is behind us with all its scary stories, movies and mounts of candy, we can take time to reflect on real fears experienced by a large number of employees.
Five main fears seem to occupy the minds of employees right now:
1. Fear of uncertainty triggered by talks of possible recession
2. Fear of loss of control caused by polarizing societal stands
3. Fear of isolation as a result of new work environments
4. Fear of not knowing how personal efforts are perceived
5. Fear of possible redundancy or loss of remuneration
Great leaders understand the need to tackle such fears upfront while showing compassion. Compassion means relating to the feelings ignited by the fear and finding real solutions to put worrying minds at ease. A leader can show compassion even when they do not experience that exact fear themselves.
The number one strategy to counter all fears is communication. Successful communication needs to be delivered with the intention of giving knowledge. It is the leader’s responsibility to ensure their communication is received and understood. It is the employee's responsibility to ask questions and make sure they have accurate information to plan their future.
Leaders can use various formal and informal communication channels depending on the purpose. The figure below provides examples of channels for the purpose of raising awareness, getting understanding, gaining acceptance, getting commitment and buy-in.
There is no such thing as too much communication. Repetition of crucial information is a winning tactic in times of uncertainly.
When done well, good communication makes people feel involved and supported. It gives them comfort in knowing their voices are included in key decisions, and that they are seen as active members of the organization’s ecosystem. Such feelings of inclusion erode most, if not all, fears.