“A failure to celebrate exemplary human actions minimizes the evidence of the grace and goodness in this world”- Dr. Janet E. Williams

Have you ever wondered why some professionals do better at their jobs than others? Or even why professionals with a professional mentor move along the career continuum with ease. Theories suggest that culture, mentoring, and trust lead to levels of greatness in adults. During one’s career however, the feelings of fear can be overwhelming and prohibit you from being your best self. In some cases, for individuals, the circumstances surrounding fear may prohibit them from taking control of their careers to do their greatest work. So with so many factors working against you, including fear, how is it that some individuals overcome these obstacles and rise to greatness and success when connected to the right mentor?

Fear in the Environment of Work

The other day I found myself speaking to a young professional about the culture in their work environment, while they shared with me that their boss was very difficult to work with because everyone, including themselves feared this person. As I listened intently to the descriptions of this individual, I drew my focus back to what this young professional needed as a solution to be able to triumph while working within difficult circumstances. When mentoring individuals, it’s important to reach down into the depths of one’s wisdom to provide the best information to help resolve individual challenges. What made this exchange exceptional was the thought that mentoring as a tool was created to move people away from the challenges that they face in life and help individuals find a path to redemption.

Using the Mentoring Reservoir to Deal with Fear

When choosing to be someone’s mentor you have a moral and ethical responsibility to guide them to better and healthier thinking, behaviors, and attitudes around their fundamental challenges and circumstances. Around the country, psychologists who study the dynamics of groups and organizations are discovering why cruel bosses thrive, how employees end up covering for managers they despise and under what conditions workers are most likely to confront and expose a bullying boss. In those environments, fear and the power of fear can be an all-consuming being which stays at the forefront of one’s posture. Those in business that use it as a tactic for control offer no real value to the business community and create an unhealthy culture to work within.

The visceral truth about working in a culture of fear is that succumbing to fear can seriously impact your career success. When mentoring to move individuals beyond their fears and struggles, seek to address the common situations that cause fear at work by providing the following options:

  • Take the initiative to schedule one-on-one meetings
  • Take notice of the issues being tolerated for too long
  • Observe the “yes to everything” syndrome
  • Be wary of “all good news”
  • Monitor deliberate avoidance of robust debate
  • Tune into patterns of accountability

A Final Thought

A failure to celebrate exemplary human actions minimizes the evidence of the grace and goodness in this world. By letting oneself be overcome by fear, you are allowing the fear to take control of your life decisions. These actions tend to lead to uncertainty and silence, and foster an environment void of creativity and action. To help address fear, organizations must experience a cultural change, encouraging employees to communicate openly and honestly with upper management and leadership. Only then, can we be assured that our work environments remain healthy, employees are happy, and that they feel comfortable to exercise their greatness in the workplace.

If you or your organization would like to find out more about adult mentoring opportunities, and how a mentoring program can help bridge the gaps experienced from missing employee engagement please reach out and connect with us at Coley & Associates, we are here to help move your organization forward, and we are passionate about what we do and committed to making a positive difference in our customers’ businesses and the world around us.