Did you know that a culture of trust and connection is key to a thriving business or workplace? I’ve noticed over the years that many work environments are actually fueled by fear and most of us have experienced this to some level. Sometimes, it’s because productivity and results are the highest priority in the organization, and this shapes an atmosphere based on acceptance through performance. Other times, specific relationships can breed fear into us. The good news is, perfect love casts out fear and we can all positively impact our work culture (1 John 4:18).
In an environment where productivity and results are the highest priority, fear is a problem because fear is connected to punishment. If it’s our performance that is being honored over who we are, we may be afraid of feedback or negative consequences. Very few people thrive in an environment where fear and punishment are the motivators. As fear grows, we tend to retreat, isolate and hide instead of perform well, thrive and increase. We’re less likely to be open to feedback or resolve issues that need attention.
To counteract a culture of fear in the workplace, we need to create a culture that values connection and trust. If we want our business or workplace to thrive, our focus must be on building healthy relationships.
I know of a retail business that transformed their culture from fear to one of trust and connection. The original owners of this business had believed their employees were regularly stealing from them and their spoken or implied accusation had bred a culture of fear. As a result, many people left and those who remained were not enjoying their work. This culture carried over to how they interacted with the customers. When new owners took over the business, they made it their priority to communicate a fundamental value for relationship to their employees. One of the ways they did this was to ask the employees how they could improve the company. By demonstrating a sense of value for their employees, the culture of fear was replaced by a culture of trust, acceptance and connection. In this culture, everyone felt able to contribute and bring their strengths. Productivity, performance and sales flourished and the company grew exponentially.
As we value relationships and trust perfect love to cast out fear, each one of us has the opportunity to contribute to building a culture where trust and connection are the motivators instead of fear, and this is just as important in the workplace as anywhere else.