Culture of Fear in the Workplace

Surprise

Why is there a culture of fear in the workplace?  Why do the people that generally rise to the top of the managerial org chart happen to be people who keep their disciples in line by keeping them fearful of retribution for breaking their rules?  Why do those who rise up the corporate ladder tend to exhibit sociopathic tendencies?

 The example I’m thinking of for this blog post is this:  I went back to ask a girl in accounts payable for some office supplies.  When I showed up at her desk and spoke her name, I had surprised her.  The look of surprise and fear on her face was so genuine.  It was if I had ‘busted’ her.  What was she doing wrong?  Nothing really.  She was surfing the internet which is done by everyone, but not condoned by management.  The look of surprise and fear stems from the usual judgment handed down by the very same people who practice the very same behavior.

In many companies, people have some liberties with regard to surfing the net, checking their facebook page, and reading a news story on the internet.  But there are still many companies that have access to many of those same things because business requires it, but at the same time are policing any recreational surfing.  And, it’s understandable that managers don’t want people to abuse their privledges, but management that does one thing and says another breeds contempt and gives people the jitters.  A lot of people can’t afford to lose their job, and it stinks to see people sweating the same behavior that their bosses are comfortable doing.  We all need a break sometimes and it’s healthy and actually boosts productivity.  And, as said earlier, there’s a fine line between a productive break and abuse, so it’s not easy to draw the line sometimes.  It’s just a little bit of a shame to see people so jittery about behavior that is not that out of line with what managers are doing too.  If someone is not getting their work done, that’s another story.  That’s when reprimand should occur.

 If someone that surfs the net in their free time punishes someone else for doing the same thing he’s a hypocrite.  There are many managers in many companies that breed this culture of fear to discourage people from doing the same things they do.  By doing this, they create employees that are unhappy, jittery, and unproductive.  Those managers are cowards.  Those managers are everywhere.

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