Wow! This Is A Massive Morale Killer!


In a family or in an organization…so much hinges on morale!

Lurking out of sight is a massive morale killer. Oh, you feel the effects, but don’t always know what the source is. Guess what, it has a name!

You see, we all have a Fear Monster. It might be alive and well and making a serious mess or it might be hibernating and only acting up every now and then! Either way, when your Fear Monster is at work, you behave in ways that seriously mess with morale at home or work!

New to the Fear Monster concept? You might word it differently, but no doubt you spot your unique fear below. It’s that reoccurring feeling that you have that does you no favors!

Identifying your Fear Monster’s name is the first step. Then, it’s important to recognize when and how it shows up for you as you lead and/or do life. I assure you, if ignored your Fear Monster will take a toll on morale and undermine your efforts as a leader, spouse, parent, or friend! I’m confident you don’t want that!

Check out these six fear-driven behaviors that might be negatively impacting the morale at home or at work:

1. Being Frantically Busy

When you are frantically busy, it affects everything! The hurried you is harder to connect with, less able to stay on top of your work load, and lacks the capacity to truly serve the people you lead or love.

There’s no question, leading is demanding! But if you are perpetually in motion, then you are under-utilizing your greatest strength: your ability to think and reflect arrive at solutions that keep your home and/or organization moving forward.

Fear At Work

Odds are good that your hectic schedule is driven by fear, which rarely leads to the results you are hoping to get.  Have you taken on too much to prove that…

      • You are enough…except that by over-committing yourself you aren’t actually able to come through with all you’ve taken on so you end up feeling less than.
      • You are not a loser…but by rushing around and trying to do it all, you make tasks more important than people and those under your influence feel let down and you end up feeling like a loser.
      • You matter…yet in your quest for significance you invest your energy in more activities than you are realistically able to do well, which doesn’t give you the confirmation of your worth that you seek.
      • You are strong…and oh so capable – hear me roar! Taking on too much eventually leads to something important falling through the cracks and compromising the strong image you were shooting for.
      • You are not selfish…anything but selfish, right? Look at everything you are doing for everyone. However, in the flurry of activity, you appear self-serving rather than the servant leader you were aiming for.

Be honest – what’s your motivation for the never-ending activity?

How does being busy intersect with your Fear Monster?

Just because everyone is crazy busy these days doesn’t mean it’s a great choice for you (or anyone else) unless you want to end up being stressed and exhausted!

It’s hard to lead others when you aren’t successfully leading yourself, and to successfully lead YOU means engaging in self-care, have excellent foundational habits, making time for others, staying on top of your work.

2. Holding Your People Back

When you are operating out of fear, that fear feeling trickles down! Fear is like a chain reaction. Your fear driven actions trigger the fears of your people and pretty soon fear is driving the team. No one operates at their best when fear is at play.

How is your fear inadvertently holding your people back and negatively affecting the bottom line? Do you relate to any of these examples?

      • You shine…unless your people outshine you. Then you feel invisible.
      • You are competent…but if someone on your team does something better than you do, or knows more than you do, you feel incompetent.
      • You are authentic…the real deal, but as the leader you often feel like you can’t be transparent. You should have a wealth of knowledge and have the answers. You should be experienced in all sorts of areas and when you aren’t you are left feeling like a fake or ordinary.

It’s no secret that people thrive when they are able to do work that taps into their passions and enables them to use their gifts, talents, and strengths. It takes time and effort to recognize and find creative ways for your people to operate in their sweet spot. And courage when they have skills you lack.

For your people to flourish they need space to be creative, innovative, and experiment in their work to find better and more effective ways of accomplishing the goals of the organization (or family). That means they are free to take risks, within limits, without worrying about facing negative consequences.

3. Perfecting the Art of Micro-Managing

Ever worked for someone who perpetually glanced over your shoulder and meddled in whatever you were tasked to do? It is the opposite of motivating!

Empowering your people is your goal – to help them develop their skills and set them free so that you are able to move on to bigger and more impactful activities. Yet if your Fear Monster is in gear, you will second guess everything your people do because your Fear Monster is whispering lies like these:

      • If you empower your people, they won’t need you and then you will feel rejected.
      • If you stop micro-managing, you won’t be in control and things won’t be done “right.”
      • You know what your people don’t know, so you resort to micro-managing rather than putting effort into training them or developing yourself as a leader.
      • If you let your people figure things out on their own, they may not be successful and then they will make you look bad.

How is fear preventing you from empowering your people?

4. Shifting the Responsibility

As the leader, the success of your team hinges on you. That’s a big responsibility. Your Fear Monster wants you to point the finger elsewhere when problems pop up, and when you do, it is sure to take a toll on the morale of your team.

Compare that to the leader who takes responsibility and does what needs to be done to turn a crisis or problem around. Taking responsibility requires courage, and if your Fear Monster is telling you that you are incompetent, not enough, or that you don’t matter taking bold actions is unlikely!

5. Ignoring Ideas & Suggestions

Your people have different perspectives, fresh ideas, and innovative solutions. However, if your Fear Monster is calling the shots, you won’t make an effort to include them in the solution process. When they do share ideas or suggestions, you tend to be critical and dismissive.

Imagine how it might give your people a boost if you were to believe that they were capable of coming up with amazing solutions to the problems you face. Or that they have suggestions that would enhance areas that you haven’t even given much thought to.

How would it enhance morale if your people knew they could share ideas with you and that you would take the time to explore their ideas, ask thought provoking questions, and help them think through the potential flaws?

Odds are that some brilliant solutions would bubble up!

After all, when ideas are ignored, especially repeatedly, it’s disheartening!

When your Fear Monster is in control, the ideas and suggestions feel like criticism. Like you are incompetent or stupid rather than seeing the ideas as powerful contributions and inspiration for new and improved ways of doing things.

6. Being Unapproachable

Relationship plays a huge role morale! In fact, the morale is probably only as good as the relationships you have with your people. Being unapproachable really lets the air out of the morale balloon!

Whether you are an extrovert or an introvert, fear may cause you to keep your distance in an effort to…

      • Keep your people from finding out what you don’t know
      • Avoid being rejected
      • Appear like you have it all together like a leader should
      • Feel important

Sadly, it’s difficult to build trust with your people from a distance.

Boosting morale never hurts! When you face your fears head on and lean into who God created you to be, the effects are amazing!

The added bonus is that when morale is up so is productivity, energy, and the chances of you successfully meeting the goals of your business or organization! It’s time to subdue your Fear Monster!

And don’t forget, the other big morale killer – communication!

What’s your Fear Monster’s name and how is it deflating morale?

© Can Stock Photo / bertoszig

Marvae Eikanas

Marvae Eikanas is an author, entrepreneur, ICF certified coach, Career Direct Consultant, DISC consultant, and HBDI practitioner. She helps her coaching clients sharpen their skills, face their fears, eliminate funky mindsets, hone their habits, and cultivate clarity so they can THRIVE personally and professionally. Schedule a consultation with Marvae here.

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