Thursday, February 12, 2009

Economic Crisis - A Real Fear Factor ?

A good friend of mine after visiting the blog wrote to me yesterday to write something about the present " Economic Crisis ". Well I am not an Economist or Financial Expert to write authentically about Recession or the so called " Economic Crisis ". But let me pen down something which I feel is catching up like an epidemic - The Fear Factor about Economic Crisis !

I think fear is widespread in the current economic climate. At a time when organizations need their employees to be productive, many are reacting like a rabbit in the headlights. Entrepreneurs and Managers are trying their level best to deal with this. While managing their own fears, most of them are worried about their job or business.They fear failure and stop taking decisions thinking they'll make a mistake or a wrong decision which can go against them or business.

Fear can be driven by external forces ("something has happened and I'm fearful of what will happen next") or internal forces, such as limiting beliefs or a sense of inadequacy. Am I capable of doing what needs to be done? What happens if I can't do what's asked of me? Fears of this nature relate to very basic human concerns, such as the desire to be respected and valued by other people. This is a powerful driver that can influence our behavior. I believe the real problem isn't usually the fear itself but the consequences of being fearful. Let's look at the Individual and Organizational consequences of this.

Individual Consequences

Most people are not frightened about what has actually happened. They're fearful of what they imagine might happen. Often they imagine lot of events and as a result, it can disturb their day to day work. As a Business Owner or a Manager, it's perfectly acceptable to feel fear. But we should recognize what it is that we are fearful of and how valid that fear is. I think most of us are not really looking at our business and studying the impact of Economic Crisis on it but just getting worried since we hear and read a lot about it. And the end result of it is procrastination!

To overcome the procrastination that can result from fear, it is important to take some action, to move forward and to get started. Turning our focus away from the fear and on to the action we are going to take, can distract us from our fear and give us a more positive frame of mind.

But I think fear has another side as well. Fear should not always be seen as negative. It acts as a warning sign that we need to be cautious and it can prompt us to think through the consequences of our actions. Fear some times creates an energy. It heightens our focus and our awareness of where we are and what we are doing. The fear of failure often drives people to work hard, to be productive or to seek out new approaches.

Organizational Consequences

Like a genie free from its bottle, once fear is unleashed in a business, it can be hard to put the lid back on it. However, Entrepreneurs and Managers can do much to stop the spread of fear. I have read that, the mood and behavior of the leader drives the mood and behavior of everyone else in the organization. The point is that everyone watches the boss and takes their emotional cues from him/her and the same will have an effect throughout the organization.

So, if our employees perceive that we are paralysed by fear, the likely result will be widespread fear and anxiety as well as stress and procrastination. Because we set the tone of working culture - and our mood is very important - we have a responsibility to manage our own fear and to project confidence, high energy and a positive attitude. To improve the performance of our organization, we have to begin by managing our inner life so that the right emotion and messages are given to our employees.

It's not simply a case of 'smile and the world smiles with us’. We have to be authentic. In other words, our actions have to match our internal feelings. We can't fake this by simply putting on a brave face. If we pretend to be brave but show a fearful or anxious face, people will make it out easily.

Another important point is that our mood should match the situation at hand. If we have fears, acknowledge them. But try to retain an encouraging air of sincerity and optimism. An effective leader is someone who can say:
' Yes, times are tough but what do we need to do to come out of this ?'

As a solution, I think we need to remove ourselves from this current situation for a while, which can help us to give a more objective viewpoint. Step back and examine the facts with neutral eyes.It can also help us to visualize how we can manage our fear and build confidence in our team. Let's not get paralysed by fear and don't blow the consequences out of proportion. Let's try to understand what options our team or the organization has and the risks attached to each of these. We need to gather information, involve others and decide on what we think is the best course of action.

Challenging times bring uncertainty into our lives. We all have to manage our reaction to this and this means moving beyond our fears. Successful organizations will be the ones that have authentic leaders setting the right example for those around them and I am sure, you are one of that authentic leader. Remember, " when the going gets tough, the tough get going ".

Let's " Kill the Fear Crisis " & " Kool down the Economic Crisis " !

Best wishes,


Bala said...

good one ! umm... fear is catching up :) forwarding it to our managers. t.c bala

Liwei said...

i will back up you always my friend, your essay is really good

Satish Philip said...

Shamim Sir, this has come out well.

The economic crisis and the fear factor is something similar to the story about the donkey, who was being buried alive in a well. The sand that was falling over the donkey is like the present economic crisis. If the donkey had been bogged down by fear of death, then probably he would have stood still and would have accepted death. But instead his objective was to get out of that situation and he cleverly shook the sand off his body and took a step up. We all have to do the same thing. I am sure, India will benefit out of the present crisis situation. All of us have to be focused, we have to look at the positive factors and as somebody said. "The best way to fight fear, is by facing it" Lets face it and lets fight it.

Shareem said...

Despite much apprehensions about the so called fear factor 'Recession, India managed to top the slot of second position for fastest growing economy in the world!!


Your write-up is excellent. Keep it rolling.