Fight. Flight. Freeze. When you’re afraid, how do you respond? What’s more, when the fear kicks in while you’re on the job, how do you work through that response?
Imagining everyone in their underwear at a meeting is a thing of the past. When your team is flustered or afraid, how do you help them to overcome their fears to put their best foot forward?
Minimization of fear (and much more) can help a team form strong connections, leading to the next groundbreaking idea. Today we speak with Cate Hollowitsch, Chief Marketing Officer at Nesnah Ventures — the person with the plan of action to move your company past fear and toward success.
Join us as we discuss:
- Empowering your team to abolish fear and promoting confidence
- Viewing your work through the lens of minimalism
- Creating bonds with team members as a result of a fearless, minimalist atmosphere
Fear is natural, but doesn’t have to be normal
Cate gave an example relatable to anyone who’s ever sent a company-wide email. In the moments before you hit ‘send,’ you’re hit with anxiety: Is everyone’s names spelled correctly? Is there a typo you didn’t see? What if you forgot something?
From the smallest thoughts of “Am I doing this right?” to the concept of bringing up a big idea that has the potential to go so right or so wrong, fear worms its way into the facets of our work somehow, Cate says. The challenge, then, is conquering that fear to continue moving forward.
Fear stifles trust
In describing how fear impacts the workplace, Cate says, “There are side emotions around fear. You start to get anxious, stressed out, worried, and you start to doubt yourself. Then you start to mistrust the people around you.”
When you start letting fear dictate how you work with other people, you risk sabotaging yourself and your teams — not exactly ideal for the creative work you’re trying to get done.
If you freeze, you’re not meeting deadlines and other teams may not get what they need to perform well. If you assume something bad is about to happen, you’re so busy focusing on fear that no work is getting done anyway, Cate says.
Minimalism as a fear-fighting tool
Sure, fear is a very human emotion, but there are tools available to combat the impacts it has on the way teams and individuals work, Cate says. Employing a minimalistic approach to work can not only remove stress and strain on all pipeline touchpoints but can also encourage a company-wide mindset shift.
Remove the “at all costs” mindset
For Cate, creating something like a one-page marketing plan required a mindset shift; she couldn’t focus on herself and had to instead focus on her team and how minimalistic approaches could better benefit the work they do.
“I actually started making better decisions at work because it wasn't about me,” she says. “It wasn't about me getting a bonus or me getting a raise at the end of the year, or about me hitting a performance measure of some sort and at all costs.”
In service to that, she chose to eliminate the “at all costs” perspective and focused instead on making choices that kept her teams on track and removed anything that wasn’t driving revenue or serving their other KPIs.
Build bonds that push through fear
For Cate and her teams, the fight against the fear of failure is ongoing — with good reason, she says. Especially for people who work in marketing — where there’s so much money, time and energy on the line — sharing big ideas and asking for help implementing them can feel daunting.
Prove yourself wrong
Cate took a hands-on approach to tackling this fear problem. She sets aside time for her team to bring her their craziest ideas, the ones they think are too far-fetched and would never work. And then, Cate says, it’s her job to prove they can’t do it.
This encourages Cate’s team to come at their ideas from a place of empowerment; they assume the ideas will work, not that they won’t. She asks them to write down all the reasons they think their idea will fail, and then they address them individually.
“By doing that, I’ve found the fear my team has generated about making decisions isn’t really there,” she says. “Helping them to go through that process really, really helps.”
Promote psychological safety
“Building trust among teams does more than just fight fear in the workplace; it also supports the psychological safety people need to do their best work”, Cate says.
Facing your fears in the workplace is a vulnerable thing. That’s why it’s imperative no one goes at it alone. Forging friendships in the workplace is vital to dispel the fears and anxieties around the work you do daily.
Want to learn more about how minimalism boosts team performance and how a culture of fearlessness feeds performance? Listen on Spotify, Apple Music, or wherever you find your podcasts.