The 5 fears of any manager. Plus their coaching cures. (feat. Richard Barrett)

Why do we all have fears?

There are three main needs innate to humans: to survive, to bond, to mean something. See Richard Barrett’s works on human values. Here below you have his main theory in a nutshell.

valori umane

If the first need is to be cherished mainly during our first 2 life years, the next one is more present in our 2-8 years old period while the third is more acute after this age, until we are 20 or so.

When (and this happens for most of the people), during these periods in our lifetime, these three fundamental needs are not met, we will develop a sort of “need fulfillment hunting” for the rest of our lives; i.e. fears: fear of not having enough, fear of not being loved enough and fear of not representing anything in other’s view.

So, fears appear during the same ages, in relation to the three types of needs. Each fear (which is a certain kind of emotional thought like “I might not get …” will trigger certain actions and behaviors (most of them unconscious to us) which will generate certain responses/ consequences in the environment (still unconscious to us).

The 5 typical Managerial Fears

The typical manager carries with him 5 typical fears since his first day of management: of being considered an imposter, a fool, an underachiever, vulnerable and of being attacked by his peers. How does he cope with them?

The cure: coaching for awareness and courage

My offer is that through coaching anyone may become more conscious and courageous about one’s fears and find ways to cope with them, aiming at better consequences.

Let’s briefly explore each of them and their managerial variants and see how can we overcome them.

     1. The managerial fear of being considered incompetent (the imposter syndrome) – related to the fear of not meaning anything (self-esteem level, see above).

  • Behavior: plays political dances: avoiding technical debates, delegates them to the more “technical” subordinates, dedicates time to social influencing and making allies.
  • Systemic consequences: general procrastination of real-life decisions, political decisions but vague form the technical point of view.
  • Possible origin: parents/ educators disregarded the child’s natural abilities and results.
  • Cure: coaching on certain excellent performances, outstanding results and existing abilities.

    2. The managerial fear of underachieving (the perfectionist syndrome) – related to the fear of not meaning anything (self-esteem level, see above).

  • Behavior: works late, involves in many projects, burnout, general busyness, confusion, lack of direction
  • Systemic consequences: sudden decisions and acts of “rebellion”, an appetite for risks, incoherent decisions
  • Possible origin: parents/ educators stressed certain abilities of the child, demanded extraordinary performances
  • Cure: coaching on the natural balance and bio-rhythm, on letting go, relaxation

    3. The managerial fear of being vulnerable (the victim syndrome) – related to the fear of not being loved (relational level, see above).

  • Behavior: cockiness, ego-shielding, gratuitous toughness, dishonesty, jealousy.
  • Systemic consequences: imprints the same artificial behavior one level down, creates a dishonest culture.
  • Possible origin: parents/ educators disregarded child’s emotions, stressed on thinking and cerebral activities
  • Cure: coaching on empathy, emotions, fears, integrity.

    4. The managerial fear of being considered a fool (the clown syndrome) – related to the fear of not mean anything (self-esteem level, see above).

  • Behavior: does not speak up, reluctant to issuing opinions, delays any decision, prolonged meetings to “be covered”.
  • Systemic consequences: delays, lack of efficiency, hesitations
  • Possible origin: parents/ educators disregarded the child’s opinions and creative ideas.
  • Cure: pure listening through coaching.

    5. The managerial fear of being attacked by his peers (the paranoid syndrome) – related to the fear of losing job security or authority  (survival level, see above).

  • Behavior: silo mentality, exaggerate control, micro-management, “we vs. them”
  • Systemic consequences: poor decision making, the division of corporate culture, internal wars, procrastination of cross-divisional projects, opposition from existing subordinates
  • Cure: coaching for awareness on existing benefits and authority, courage to let go.

Coaching as Re-parenting

From this article’s point of view, coaching may be seen as re-parenting or at close range to psychotherapy; it is true. Many of our “interferences” (as in performance = potential – interferences) come from historical unmet needs (unmet by parents of educators).

When following performance, some old memories brightening is often needed sometimes.

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George Bragadireanu

George Bragadireanu