Fear, Itself

Originally posted May 2013

Being an entrepreneur involves taking risks. Setting up a business, launching a new product, or making essential changes come as second nature to many of those who lead organisations (including those which are “not for profit”, which doesn’t make them any less enterprising).

So why is it that when it comes to people issues, so many dynamic and energetic business people suddenly become very cautious and risk averse? Is it because

  • Even the most task-centred of us doesn’t like confrontation and bad feeling?
  • Or because people can answer back and challenge us?

Maybe it’s because

  • We believe what politicians and tabloid newspapers tell us about how complex and restrictive employment laws are?
  • We fall for the scare tactics used by certain companies selling their employment insurance products?

Or perhaps it’s a result of

  • Bad experiences of HR people or departments who seem process bound and too eager to say “no” (I suspect, without any evidence, that this might be the origin of the infamous Beecroft report)
  • A single bad experience (maybe a very problematic employee or a badly handled tribunal) that colours our view of all employment issues

Rather like the fear of crime far outweighing the actual likelihood of a criminal event, so people will still fear HR issues no matter how many times they are told the UK has one of the most flexible labour markets in the world. And fear – as this excellent blog points out – can be paralysing.

I don’t have an answer – I’m just interested to know why it happens. And I also wonder why we don’t treat our fears like Buffy the Vampire Slayer when we realise how insignificant they actually are

2 thoughts on “Fear, Itself

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