Invisible Threats: Uncovering Fear in the Professional Sphere

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The arrival of a new team member always triggers numerous reactions within the existing team, many of which are far from favorable. With the enforcement of NOM035 in Mexico, various questions arise about issues that may not seem prominent at first glance. One of the most common and challenging to detect feelings is fear. Fear in the workplace doesn’t always manifest in the conventional sense; it takes on a different form depending on the relationships in question…

A common scenario is when higher-ups, such as managers, are afraid of a new team member, whether they are native or foreign, from the same department or an entirely different one. If, as leaders, we fail to recognize these reactions and guide the team toward a healthy coexistence, we may find ourselves in a highly tense and unproductive work environment. Some common signs that may indicate managers’ fear of a new team member include:

  1. Passive Resistance: Managers may appear outwardly agreeable but demonstrate passive resistance through a lack of enthusiasm or subpar execution of assigned tasks.
  2. Lack of Openness: They may avoid sharing crucial information or ideas with the new manager, hindering effective decision-making.
  3. Constant Questioning: Existing managers may repeatedly question the decisions and actions of the new manager, rather than showing confidence in their leadership.
  4. Faction Formation: They might form groups or factions within the team to undermine the authority of the new manager.
  5. Backstabbing Critiques: Managers may express criticisms or concerns about the new manager in private conversations with other colleagues.
  6. Overassertiveness: Some managers might try to stand out excessively to prove their worthiness in front of the new leader.
  7. Lack of Cooperation: They may display an unwillingness to collaborate on initiatives or projects led by the new manager.
  8. Isolation: Managers may isolate themselves or withdraw socially, avoiding unnecessary interactions with the new leader.
  9. Rumors: Spreading rumors or negative gossip about the new manager can be a sign of fear and resistance.
  10. Emotional Disinvestment: Managers may show a lack of emotional commitment or apathy toward the work under the new manager’s direction.
  11. Lack of Constructive Feedback: Instead of providing constructive feedback, they may choose silence or destructive criticism.
  12. Professional Development Setback: Some managers may feel threatened in their professional development under the guidance of the new leader and take steps to protect their personal interests.

Exploring and understanding how fear impacts workplace relationships is essential for building healthy and productive work environments. By recognizing signs of fear in the workplace dynamics, we can proactively address these challenges, fostering a corporate culture that values transparency, empathy, and professional growth.

Let’s remember that each individual brings a unique and valuable perspective to the team, and cultivating an environment where everyone feels safe and respected is crucial for maximizing performance and job satisfaction. Adopting strategies to overcome fear, promoting open communication, and fostering collaboration are fundamental steps toward a more positive and enriching future in the workplace.

Ultimately, by addressing fear in the workplace, we not only improve the emotional well-being of employees but also contribute to the overall success of the organization. Let’s continue working together to create work environments where trust and mutual support are the norm, enabling each team member to reach their full potential.

“Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”

Benjamin Franklin
Roger Mariano

Roger Mariano

Deputy General Manager, Manager, Consultant, Professor, lecturer, with over 20 years of experience in key roles in the Human Resources field, often serving as a change agent in both National and Multinational Companies. I aim to support my national and international colleagues, as well as anyone interested in learning about my experience in human resources management in Mexico.

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