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How Fear Can Help You Increase Work Productivity

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Can fear make people more productive? Some recent studies and research have shown this to be true. Having said that, the method to increase productivity may have some negative side effects if implemented.

Keep reading if you want to know why scaring someone can get them to work harder – and why it might not be the best of ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

Can Being Afraid Really Help You Perform Better?

 

How Fear Increases Work Productivity

Here’s a look at some of the ways that being afraid can make people work harder.

  • Economy – The biggest reason fear works is because of the state of the economy around the world currently. Many people feel they’re lucky to have a job – any job. Even if they hate going to work, they take this as a part of life and something that must be done.

  • Other Workers – When people are fired for not working hard enough, it can have a big effect on how hard other people work. Once a culture of fear has invaded a workplace, it can be hard to disperse. And this can have long-lasting negative effects.

  • Fear of the Unknown – Not having a job in the current employment market can be a scary thing. When people with college degrees and many years of experience are having problems finding a job, people are more loathe to lose the job they have and face the unknown.

fear of the unknown picture quote

 

Why Productivity Through Fear is Bad

Here’s a look at why this might not be a good thing in the long-term.

  • Morale – One of the biggest problems with increased production via fear is that it can be very bad for morale. While production may increase, the quality may be missing. When morale of workers is low, it can affect a company’s ability to operate.

  • Burnout – And when morale becomes too low, burnout is a very real problem. When this happens, productivity can go through the floor – and stay there for a while which can really affect your bottom line.

  • Negative Image – If a company uses tactics of fear to get their workers to work harder – either overtly or on the sly – word can quickly spread, harming the company’s public image. With the Internet, this bad publicity can spread quickly and have a lasting effect on a brand.

As you can see, even if people are working harder because they are afraid, it might not be the best thing in the world for everyone involved. From the workers themselves – who may face burnout – to the employers – who may have quality control issues – fear can do more harm than good.

What do you think? Do you work harder because you’re afraid of losing your job?

Leave a comment below – anonymously if you want.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Ola Rybacka

    Sep 27, 2017 at 5:36 am

    Dear John,
    I’m happy to inform you that this post is featured in the recent part of TimeCamp’s weekly Productivity Articles roundup! Find “Best Productivity Articles Last Week: Tips, Tricks, and Habits! 24/9/17” on https://www.timecamp.com/blog/.
    Thank you for sharing these excellent productivity and time management tips!
    Ola Rybacka, SM Manager at TimeCamp

  2. Emmanuel

    Jul 30, 2014 at 6:50 am

    Yes I work hard because of fear of being fired.

  3. Naomi@businessstart-ups

    Feb 6, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Hi John,

    What ever happened to the saying “a happy worker, is a good worker”.

    Getting staff to work in fear is ludicrous, mean and bad leadership.

    Thanks for the great read

    Naomi

  4. Anonymous

    Jan 6, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    To expound a bit on the last comment, while fear/punishment are not good motivators in the long-run, accountability is important. Expectations must be clear and understood, and managers should coach toward improvement, i.e., letting employees know where performance exceeds or falls short, and training for improvement where needed. Managers should themselves be accountable for their reports’ performance and improvement.

  5. Anonymous

    Nov 6, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Fear is only ever a short-term motivator and is a tool only used by the emotionally unintelligent. Incentivising good practice is the best motivator, not threatening to punish. This is not so well understood in the American model of business capitalism.

  6. Travis McCormick

    Nov 3, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    I believe working hard is all apart of and individuals work ethic and morals. Regardless of the current employee turnover rate, when a job needs to be done it should be done with full effort. I have never been afraid of losing a job, I can get a new one. But losing your work ethic and morals is something too valuable to lose.

  7. Amjed

    Nov 1, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    In any job that I worked in, I work very hard because I hate to give somebody the right to fuss on me or look down upon me. From working hard I get many privileges for example: I get off days whenever I ask to.

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Why It’s So Important To Break Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Joel Brown (Founder of Addicted2Success.com)

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Fear of Snakes

So I completed a Snake Handling course 6 years ago and during the final test of the course, we were asked to capture and bag 5 of Australia’s Deadliest snakes in a small confined room. The room had a Tiger Snake, Dugite, King Brown, Death Adder and a Red-Bellied Black Snake all slithering around at the same time. I couldn’t believe what I had got myself into.

Snakes were one of the biggest fears of mine. I would imagine a snake running underneath my feet from time to time and I would actually bring my feet up off the floor to avoid getting entangled or bitten by these imaginary snakes I had created in my mind. I would even have nightmares about snakes biting me and it would wake me up in sweats in the middle of the night.

I could have never imagined doing this in my life but I did it because I knew that I had to get passed this ridiculous fear I had of snakes, and I am grateful I was able to show up for it.

Checkout this podcast episode where I share how You can Master your Sub Conscious Programming around your fears in 2 Steps:

While attending this course, the subject of Fear was brought up and the presenter asked a number of people:

 

“What Are Your Top 5 Fears?”

– Public Speaking

– Cancer

– Sharks

– Snakes

– Heights

Were at the top of the list for most people.

 

The instructor carried on with a story of how he had just arrived back from a trip to the Northern Territory of Australia to visit an aboriginal community where he had met a 7-year-old boy who was absolutely scared to death of spiders and the dark.

Killer crocodile fearIt did not matter what kind of spider it is, he was scared and that was that. This boy would hunt crocodiles and lizards but was scared of even the non-venomous spiders.

All he had learned from a very young age was that spiders are dangerous and that they WILL kill you, yet the crocodiles and snakes that the boy would play with and hunt for are by far more deadly than most spiders that your everyday human would come across.

He was taught between the crucial years of 1-6 yrs old that the dark is full of evil happenings and that spiders are incredibly deadly and will kill him if he goes anywhere near them. So he was devastated to sleep in the dark and would jump on near by people just to get away from a spider nearby.

I’m not here to say that spiders aren’t dangerous, they are, and some out there have the potential to kill you. This boy was right to be cautious around spiders but where he lacked knowledge, or the right information about these creatures, eventually left him fearful of something he had never really understood.

This boy is just an example of many other people out there that are limited by their fears because of the little that they know. The less you know, the more fearful you are. This is only human and we are naturally scared of the unknown.

So the key thing here is we need more “KNOWLEDGE!” and it is in our best interest to want to understand how things work if we want to become less fearful of what the wild and wonderful world we live in has to offer.

You have to “EXPERIENCE” things to have a better understanding of the activity or whatever it is you are most scared of.

Joel Brown Snakes Fear

Joel Brown – Certified Snake Handler

When you increase your knowledge you can grow to the level where your fear is set at, so when the two meet it creates a level called “RESPECT”.

This is the perfect level to be on because you will now have a respect for what you fear which will allow you to then work with it rather than being submissive and missing out on the wonderful feeling of successfully OWNING! the outer areas of your comfort zone.

Everybody has a fear of some sort and learning more about what you fear and even voyaging through your ‘un-comfortable zone‘ will prepare you for the hard knocks in life on your road to success.

 

I have a few more fears to conquer myself and I am happy to say that I have crossed ‘Snakes’ and a number of other top things off my list. I’m sharing this story with you in hopes that you too will face at least one or two of your fears. Not to say that “you did it“, but to prove that you can outgrow your own personal limitations.

Your fears could be holding you back, they could even be the final piece you need to experience a brand new lifestyle or a brave new world of fun.

 

So get out there, learn more and grow!

 

No matter the storm, may your Faith be stronger than your Fears – Joel Brown

 

 

Feature Image Original Source: Indiana Jones – Raiders Of The Lost Ark

 

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