Fear is Not a Management Style

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I have a senior manager who’s from a different country. She’s so tough. Everyone’s afraid of her.

I have seven people working for me. They’ve all come to me about her abuse and rage.

The CEO has been notified. He defended her and said she was very effective in her management style.

One of my team employees from the same country complained to me because she was berated in front of everyone.

When I defended my employee, I was called into Human Resources. My employee got mad that I defended her. The HR manager said nothing about her anger, but asked me if I’ve heard of the acronym F.E.A.R. meaning False Evidence Appearing Real. Is she saying that I’m crazy?

I was so stunned. Then she said to let the two people from the same culture work it out. She defended my boss’s management “style,” and asked if I wanted to keep working there.   

 I’m a single mom. I’m paid well. I don’t understand how my boss gets away with this.


Can’t Leave

Dear Valiant Worker,

Fear is not a management style.

You’re not wrong to speak up about the abuse. However, in the future, try to “save face” in privacy to avoid humiliation.

Knowledge is power. Now you know the parameters of your work expectations, and you have difficult decisions to make. As a single mother you need to observe, document, and look for other employment options, if it becomes intolerable.

Fear means anxiety, the unknown, reluctance, and losing courage. Fear can lead to procrastination, creativity blocks, and loss of confidence. Taking action steps, even if the steps fail, is important for you to find a way to change your situation. Change is scary, and that’s what most people fear.

Cognitive psychological research helps us to realize that even though we know we can’t always control how we feel, we can control our action steps.

Physical and mental action steps:

1. Physical gestures lessons anxiety adrenaline. Push your fingers together hard (maybe under the table where no one can see) for a minute. It stops the paralyzing effects of fear, and helps you take a positive action. Scream or punch into a pillow.

2. Turn anxiety into excitement. While you still have your job, put feelers out to see if you can get a different job with a better environment, or a whole different career.

Anxiety is mostly about control. You’ve done everything you can to change your reality. Don’t worry about the acronym regarding F.E.A.R. You know what is true.  Remember, you can only change yourself.


Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

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