1 September 2023

80% of people fear being held accountable at work. But you can 100% fix this.

Real-world solutions to real work problems.

80 percent of people fear being held accountable

Fear of failure can be paralysing for any business.  And setting unrealistic goals for employees is usually the biggest culprit.

It’s generally accepted that people’s biggest fears in life are the things that are beyond their control. Which is why fear of flying is so common.


And being given targets by bosses that are so unrealistic that they appear to have lost their senses can be just as terrifying.

When employees start to lose faith in their boss's judgement, they also lose respect. And once that’s lost it’s almost impossible to win back. Pretty soon all the good people will start looking to leave. 

Disturbingly, it sometimes only takes one really unthinking decision from a boss to set that particular ball rolling. 


So how do you challenge people to perform better in a way that doesn't frighten them?

Well, the answer is pretty simple. Agree goals. Don’t just set them.


Talk to your staff before you even raise the spectre of new targets or expectations. Find out if there are any barriers or pain points that you weren’t aware of. This is absolutely critical. No-one expects a boss to know everything, but equally, no-one respects a boss who makes decisions without knowing all the facts.


But, once it's clear that you really understand the lay of the land, you can generate a real spark of interest amongst your staff by asking them what they think they’re capable of achieving. By encouraging them to set goals for themselves, you’ll be amazed how often they will raise the bar much higher than anything you might have thought to suggest.


As a bonus, you’ll often find that those employees who’d rather just have an easy life tend to get dragged along by their more go-getting colleagues because they know they’ll look bad by comparison if they don’t.


Once you’ve agreed on the goals, review how things are going, together as a group, as often as you can. Weekly, fortnightly or at the very least monthly. Essentially the more often you do it the more you reduce fear of failure because any problems that arise, that could cause anxiety, can be nipped in the bud as soon as possible.


The more often you engage with your employees in this way the more important they will feel. And the more enthused they will be.


Which can only be good for your business.


This article is part of a series about real-world solutions to real work problems - that you don’t need an MBA to understand.

Click here to read: How could the world's most successful sports team really help your business?



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