Fear: the awareness of danger or the anticipation of loss.
In managing public risk, fear has both an upside and a
downside. Fear of failure, of legal
liability, of financial loss, of the loss of personal or organizational
reputation amongst good people (but not the bad), of injury or death is a
powerful motivator, if not a lifesaver. For the most part, these are good fears.
However, in matters of war, commerce, and to uphold principle, these good
fears must often be managed to achieve a higher good.
Thus, while special caution is needed for public safety, organizational
progress requires well managed risk.
On the other hand, it is too easy to submit to fear and make it our master. Fear of the facts, fear of acting in accordance with high principle and fear of discharging one’s professional or personal duties in the face of adversity is the bad, but very real side of fear. Fear of this kind causes organizational paralysis, sick leave, staff turnover, cynicism and passivity in the face of danger. This fear must be fought.
Too many managers mistakenly believe their
organizations are free from fear, not realizing that coercion can be very
subtle. It is most apparent to
those who feel it and often least apparent to those who either cause it or fail
to eliminate it.
One useful technique that managers can use at meetings is to ask for opinions from the junior person first and the senior person last. If the senior person objects to this order, you may be facing a tyrant.
Next month we’ll look at fear’s opposite: trust.
Yes, there are pros and cons to trust, too!
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Risk Solutions offered by CADMUS:
Mike Murphy has been a risk management consultant for the last four years. Prior to that, he spent 17 years (78-96) with Transport Canada, his last five as Regional Director General, Aviation in Winnipeg. Originally trained as a professional pilot, he is the author of an internationally acclaimed 500-page report entitled "An Evaluation of Emergency Response Services at Airports in Canada," currently in its second revised edition (August 1999) and is undergoing a third major revision. He is also the Chairman of the Air Passenger Safety Group (APSG) www.transport2000.ca/APSG , a Director of Transport 2000 Canada www.transport2000.ca, a Director of the Ottawa Chapter of Christian Businessmen's Committee (CBMC) www.cbmc.net and the Secretary General of the Peugeot Club of North America (PCNA). www.peugeotclub.org
How to Read a Book, by Mortimer Adler led Murphy on a life-long love affair with the written word. Two versions exist; the original 1940, and a second, co-authored by Charles Van Doren. Either will connect you with many of the best books on the planet.
(Available in Word 97 by email or by fax from):
e-mail: Michael Murphy
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