People are good at adapting to their surroundings. This happens at the office when your employees give up on trying to make a positive impact. Instead of challenging themselves to help make your company a better place to work, they’re trying to do just enough to not get fired.

As a leader, it can be hard to see what’s really happening in your company. Do your people come to work because they love their job? Or, are they working for the weekend?

Here are a few warning flags you’ve built a culture of fear at your company.

hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil

Your people only tell you what you want to hear. Anyone can hear the stuff they want to hear. Great leaders will empower their people to say what needs to be said. It’s extremely difficult to grow your company when you can’t identify and fix areas that need to improve.

You fire people regularly over missed numbers. Using KPIs can be a great way to tell if you’re winning or losing. When you use them as the primary driver for letting people go, you’ll build a culture where everyone is out for themselves. That leaves you, the leader, as the only person looking out for the best interests of the larger organization.

Your employees are afraid of making mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. That’s a part of doing business. The ability to learn from mistakes is how your company will grow. When your people are afraid of making mistakes, your company’s growth will suffer.

There’s no accountability for projects. When your leadership style is to cast blame for mistakes, your employees will try to skirt accountability. The flip side of that is for you to understand mistakes are a part of the growing process. Accountability means they’re responsible for learning from the mistake, not that their job is in jeopardy for it. In that environment, people aren’t afraid of being held accountable for their mistakes.


Your employees hoard information for themselves. There’s a common fear for people who think teaching someone else to do part of their job makes them less valuable to their employer. So, instead, they hoard information and never grow into new roles or challenges that can push your company forward.

You feel the need to tell your staff about how much you trust them. Trust is one of those things that’s incredibly important to have at your company, but the more you talk about how important it is — the more likely it is you don’t have it. Think about your significant other or a good friend. You don’t have to talk about how much you trust each other all the time; but you know that trust is there.

Your people don’t know anything about your personal life. Leaders are the same people in their personal life as they are at work. If none of your people care to know anything about who you are as a person that’s a good indicator they don’t care about who you are as a leader.


A leader’s role isn’t to criticize, blame or fire people. Your job is to grow your business into something profitable and sustainable. The best way to do that is to take care of the greatest asset you have: Your people.

When you’re building a culture focused on providing BAM, you’re naturally going to think more about what they need. The more you trust them to do their job, the more they’ll trust you to do yours.


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