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Fear and Self-Protection: the Seeds of Team Failure

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We sometimes hear that fear is a powerful motivator. It may be so on the battlefield, but in organizations, fear, and the accompanying need to protect oneself, is actually what brings teams to fail or under-perform.

Leaders, in their desire to see results and to get things done fast, invariably drive team meetings to focus on technical discussions and how things are going to get. Yet things are not going to get done if individuals commit to tasks that they know they cannot deliver or team members cannot coordinate their actions properly because they have not been able to speak truthfully.

Leaders need to foremost create the space where individuals feel safe to talk openly about what they think should be done, or what is preventing them from completing what is asked of them.

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