- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Kogan Page; 1 edition (July 28, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0749472952
- ISBN-13: 978-0749472955
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #802,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Fear-free Organization: Vital Insights from Neuroscience to Transform Your Business Culture 1st Edition
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
"Emotions are at the very core of being human because they exert a powerful, often unconscious impact on how we think, feel and behave. There is a wealth of research highlighting how extended periods of stress, anxiety and fear can inflict a damaging effect on our physical and psychological health with significant consequences for our personal relationships and quality of life.
Conversely psychological wellbeing is strongly correlated with greater energy, motivation and better cognitive function.
There is a zeitgeist and not surprisingly progressive organizations are actively looking at how they can improve and maintain the psychological health and wellbeing of their employees to the benefit of all concerned.
This book draws on robust psychological theory and the remarkable advances in neuroscience to provide the reader with fascinating and invaluable insights into how the human brain works. Most importantly it outlines a range of effective, practical strategies to help build a healthier environment that can deliver real and measurable benefits to the individual, teams and the organization -- the fear-free organization."
(Dr. Brian Marien Founder and Director of Positive)
"Leadership is about making sense, and this book makes a lot of sense. I highly recommend it for leaders, and those aspire to become one."
(Rien Herber former Shell Executive and currently Professor at Groningen University)
"If you work in an organization, you already know this: fear runs the place. What you may not know is that fear is going to ruin it, too, sooner or later. This book tells us why. Then it tells us how to change that. It is a call to leaders to understand the neurobiology of fear, face the damage it is doing, say goodbye to it forever as a tactic, and replace it brilliantly -- as in: see to it that your organization is teeming with joy, with relationships of dignity, with warranted trust. Make it full of energy, not adrenaline; focused on possibility, not profit; generating independent thinking, not obedience; and spawning meaning everywhere because what really matters there is what really matters.This book gives us all of that by being both academic and accessible, by being, in fact, friendly and in places quite eloquent. Most of all it hits the bullseye: dear is the problem and relationship of love are the solution. The sophisticated version of love, that is, the kind that creates intellectual and practical rigour and leaves us smarter and makes us better leaders. It's all in the brain, it turns out. And leaders need to understand this particular dimension of the brain and stop fooling themselves. The neurological fact is that fear destroys; trust creates. Even the title is worth a month of pondering: The Fear-free Organization -- not an oxymoron after all. What a relief."
(Nancy Kline author of "Time to Think")
"All organizations suffer from elements of dysfunctionality and all leaders will be familiar with the symptoms. This book superbly explains what is really going on together with fascinating insights on the fears that all of us have experienced in the workplace and which have such a destructive effect on culture. And then the authors provide some practical advice on how to change things for the better." (Charlie Geffen Chair, London Corporate, Gibson Dunn and formerly Senior Partner at Ashurst)
I believe many corporate leaders still believe triggering fear is more productive than triggering attachment -- mainly because that's the only role modelling they've had and all they know how to do. For many, building relationships, managing energy flow, fostering trust and avoiding triggering fear is all hard and unfamiliar work. But the resulting increase in affiliation, work satisfaction, productivity -- and yes, business results! -- would be staggering if more leaders would roll up their sleeves and take the plunge."
"The Fear-free Organization is the essential manual for effective management. It provides the practical methods needed to motivate people to do their best work. The authors explain, simply and understandably, how to apply the most advanced neuroscientific insights to business management. It is groundbreaking and indispensable."
(Doston Rader Contributing Editor, Parade)
About the Author
Dr Paul Brown has worked as a clinical and organizational psychologist for fifty years with an international practice that has taken him throughout Europe, the USA, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, China, Vietnam and Lao PDR. He is Visiting Professor in Organizational Neuroscience at London South Bank University - the first such appointment in the UK. He lives in Laos, where he acts as an adviser within the advisory office of the Prime Minister; works substantially in Vietnam with the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation concerned with the legacy effects of war; is Expert Adviser to the International Energy Research Centre at the Tyndall Institute, Ireland; and teaches regularly in England and Ireland. He is the co-author of Neuropsychology for Coaches (Open University Press).
Joan Kingsley is a consultant clinical and organizational psychotherapist who has spent the past 25 years doing research into the links between brain systems and our psychological lives. She practices as an Executive Coach and works with senior management in business organizations. She is Vice President of a New York based business and sits on the Boards of two UK organizations.
Sue Paterson is a consultant with a deep understanding of how to live and work successfully in different cultures, and how different organizations work (or not). She has also worked in HR, leading a team delivering talent management, leadership development and recruitment to over 5,000 staff based in Europe.
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Of course, every company needs order and workplaces must have regulations, often for safety and regulatory purposes. Some rules are good and necessary. Yet maybe the company runs sub-optimally because of the climate of fear, oppression and chaos within. Just like someone being bullied or abused, often the victims are too scared to speak up and the offender might not even thoroughly know of their actions, the causes behind it and the deep effects it is having.
Nobody has left. Nobody has sued. Nobody has hit the boss (or in the USA resorted to drawing a weapon)… so it must be ok and everything is tickety-boo. After all, people always complain about their bosses don’t they? The company is making profits…
Even if your company is not overly plagued with such sabotage affecting its bottom-line, maybe things could be optimised in any case to remove as much negativity as possible. Science to the rescue? The authors set out to look at the latest developments in the field of neurosciences – itself a relatively new field of science that is enjoying a boom thanks to technological advances – to look closer at what makes us tick and what makes us fearful. Fear is a powerful, debilitating and changing emotion and when you think how much time we spend at work and how our life is regulated by our ability to work and earn, it can affect a lot more than just a company workplace.
The book’s publicity material notes that fear is one of the most powerful motivating forces in our working culture today, with an overwhelming majority of bosses using it to keep order. “How often have you or someone you know experienced the fear of being thought a slacker and fired; of being unfairly criticised; of being back-stabbed and passed over for promotion; of being left in the dark, excluded, left out of meetings, undercut, pre-empted; of being the last to know? Fear easily overtakes excitement and enthusiasm as the primary driver of motivation at work. It is readily used as a management tool because there is simply nothing easier than tapping into another person’s fear system,” the authors note.
Sadly they are right. Change is, of course, possible if we (as a society) can understand this and can push for change. It won’t be an overnight sensation but the smart employers will be looking to maximise their employee’s motivation and happiness, or they should be, as recruitment costs a lot of time and money, even for the lower, more commodity positions. Imagine the costs finding a good executive, employed on a six-figure salary, who probably can switch between workplaces and yet they are often treated to the same pressures of fear from their bosses and often pass it on (it’s normal, right?) down the chain of command.
Despite the book being written in a fairly open, accessible form this is not a light read. This is not a complaint, just a fact. You should read it first to get on-board with the concept, then re-read it with a view of tailor-making a change implementation for your own organisation and then maybe a further re-read to see what you might have missed.
The authors advocate the creation and promotion of a “Fear-Free Organisation” (hence the book’s title) and then give you the tools to set you along this pathway. It won’t be a simple overnight change, it requires rewriting the collective minds of many, it requires rewriting a culture that still may be viewed as being “normal” and there is a good chance it will be met with outright hostility (remember, many view “attack” as the best form of “defence” after all…) Most importantly, the authors can’t give a step-by-step guide either. It is just impossible!
What about the future? “In the fear-free organisation there are no panic rooms, no internal enemies, no bad guys. The fear-free organisation has zero tolerance for bullies, for backbiting, vicious gossip, tittle-tattle, undermining behaviours, hijacking tactics, political jockeying for position, favouritism, and fascist-style policies. In the fear-free organisation leaders understand that scared people spend a lot more time plotting their survival than working productively. In the fear-free organisation people work on inspiration. They are encouraged to take risks, to think out of the box, to challenge the status quo, to explore new frontiers, to stand up and be counted,” the book states.
Utopia? Maybe. Yet people didn’t think that man would one day walk on the moon. It takes a dream, it takes a vision, it takes a lot of hard work and inevitably knockbacks along the way. That “moonwalk” may be in reach for your workplace. Your colleagues and future colleagues may thank you for inspiring the change. Your own health and your family might also thank you. If only they realised and understood.
The authors have thought of it all (or near as damn it). The book cannot be written off as the collective madness of a bunch of white-coated boffins who’ve never stuck a foot outside of a university and seen what happens in the real world. Field work, interviews, scientific evidence and actual examples are mixed together to great effect and of course references to source materials are given so you can dig even deeper if you wish (or are seeking to discredit the claims and shoot the messenger along the way).
This is a book you want to ignore; you want to be able say that it contains just plain “BS” and claim that the world is just perfect. Yet, maybe you already realise that there is a problem. So order this book today, get yourself sold on the idea and then seek to effect change. One man or woman can’t change a world, but many can create a sea change.