I know of no data showing that anxious, fearful employees are more creative or productive.
Effects on Decision Making and Problem Solving
Enthusiasm for innovation and improvisation gives way to concern for strict professionalism and for covering all the bases.
That means the firm becomes less aggressive, less dynamic. This can kill in a fast changing marketplace. As stakes go up, pressure and fear trigger security needs. Those related to growth and differentiation fade. Focus will be on the old and the same. The status quo wins.
More than just Avoiding Pressure and Fear
Simply avoiding pressure and fear is not enough though. We need to promote a relaxed one. The problem though is going too far. We force this. We try too hard to make things relaxed and fun.
As the article “Down with Fun” cites, “this cult of fun is driven by three of the most popular management fads of the moment: empowerment, engagement and creativity.” As a result, when “fun becomes part of a corporate strategy it ceases to be fun and becomes its opposite” and concludes that the “most unpleasant thing about the fashion for fun is that it is mixed with a large dose of coercion.”
Role of Management
Management needs to have the talent, skills and training for leading an innovative culture. Management needs to know what is involved in building and changing culture. Then it needs to know how to manage to that culture.
For example, Gilbert says “half of employees who experienced uncivil behavior at work intentionally [my emphasis] decreased their efforts.” He reminds us that “managers establish the tone when it comes to incivility.”
The key then is not mission statements and policies. To remove fear and promote innovation, the key is relationships. These are the touch points among employees, managers and the firm. Managers are responsible for building a culture in which these points thrive.
- Making Group Brainstorming More Effective And Innovative
- Linking Disruptive Innovations and Disruptive Personalities
- How Work Pressure and Fear Affect Innovation
- Creative Innovation (Pt 4): Spontaneity & Frequency
- Creative Innovation (Pt 5): Employees Running into Each Other
- Creative Innovation (Pt 6): People Mix
- Creative Innovation (Pt 7): Conflict
- Creative Innovation (Pt 8): Guidelines over Rules
- Creative Innovation (Pt 9): Pessimism’s Positivity
- Creative Innovation (Pt 10): Information & Interruptions
- Creative Innovation (Pt 11): Quantification Restricts Creativity
- Creative Innovation (Pt 12): Associative Thinking
- Creative Innovation (Pt 13): Overcoming Biases
- Creative Innovation (Pt 14): Time Alone
- Creative Innovation (Pt 15): Prototypes as Obstacles