fear is a cancer

“Fear is a debasing, humiliating emotion that erodes our dignity. It is a powerful acid that disintegrates the bonds that unite human beings.”

– R. R. Reno in the May 2020 issue of First Things

R. R. Reno is a much smarter and more eloquent person than me by far. I think that his quote above says some things about fear that I have wanted to say.

On a societal level we are of course seeing the impact of fear and how that fear has been manipulated for the advantage of some. However, here I am going to just say a few things about fear in organizations.

Far too often, I have seen fear utilized by so called leaders (pseudo-leaders) to intimidate the people they are supposed to be leading. These pseudo-leaders often think that people are fearful of them which gives them some sort of perverse satisfaction which somehow serves a damaged ego.

In reality, the real fear that people often have is not of the pseudo-leader themselves, but of losing the means of financial support of their family. That then causes a moral dilemma for many people – do I stand up to a bullying pseudo-leader on behalf of others and myself or do I stay quiet so that I can keep my means of support for my family? Most often, the higher priority of caring for one’s family wins out over taking a stand. So now that individual not only has to deal with the emotion of fear of losing their means of supporting their family, they now carry a measure of guilt or shame in not standing up to the bullying tactics of the pseudo-leader.

Unfortunately, many times if someone stands up to a bullying pseudo-leader it does not quite work out as it does in the Hallmark shows. There is not always a new and better job waiting for them. Often times they are branded as a troublemaker, and if you live in a smaller community that can shut many doors for them. People often pay a heavy price for taking a stand. Most of us will put the welfare of our families over our own dignity.

If you happen to be the senior leader in your organization, you need to root out those pseudo-leaders in your organization that have a lust for power and that are creating fear in the people in your organization. In my opinion, you have a moral obligation to protect the people in your organization from these pseudo-leaders – it is not an option if you are to call yourself a real leader.

Protect the people in your organization from these pseudo-leaders that are spreading the cancer of fear in your organization. It is your duty and responsibility to do so.