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Three Ways to Foster Freedom and Lower Fear In Teams

Did you know you can actively work to lower the fear and stress in your team?

Fear tells us that humans can’t be trusted with freedom and must be micromanaged. Honor tells us that people were designed to be free. When we trust and lead them with freedom, we invite the best of them to the surface. For this reason, meeting one another’s needs for autonomy in honoring working relationships is something we naturally want to do—it’s part of serving each other well. However, honor does place one limit around freedom: we must use our freedom to steward relationships well. 

Micromanaging anyone is usually inefficient, and anxiety-producing. It’s a recipe for creating a team of strangers who are all maneuvering to protect themselves from each other and never feel safe enough to offer their best. We do our utmost to clearly communicate our team’s mission, goals, roles, and responsibilities, and then we trust our team members to take ownership of building and executing the plans to get where we need to go.

Here are are three ways to foster freedom and lower the fear of failure:

1. Encourage personal risk-taking by modeling it ourselves and through positive coaching and feedback. Some people need more encouragement than others in this area. Some are so conditioned to fear punishment, that they avoid risk-taking as much as possible. This ultimately hurts the team. 

2. Help team members by keeping them accountable for protecting the team as they take risks. Most of us are not trained to think about how our decisions impact everyone on our team, not just us and the people immediately around us. Helping people think about what keeps the team safe, and makes the team look good creates a culture and environment of safety.  

3. Foster healthy freedom and lower the fear of failure by helping people clean up and learn from their messes without punishment (and by cleaning up and learning from our own). This completes the learning process. As we clean up messes, we reinforce the idea that there is no need to fear, and the team can continue to take risks.

Now, I would love to hear from you! How do you help your team look good? How do you keep your heart at peace when you experience failure?

What else would you add to this list of ways to foster freedom in the workplace and in ministry? 

The above is an excerpt from my book, “The Business of Honor.” You can find out more by clicking here!

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