Taming Fear

How to help your team build grit to overcome immobilizing situations

A system alert flashed on my computer screen. I flinched. An instant later, I heard the moans of my teammates in the surrounding cubicles. The planning system had crashed, and as manager of the IT team we were going to get all the blame. The system outage began wreaking such havoc with operations at our 300 manufacturing locations around the globe that we couldn’t read all the angry emails cramming their Inboxes. Everyone on the team felt shell-shocked. They sat at their desks like zombies, unable to think the problem through. 

Knowing I must do something to get everyone to work on the problem, I herded the team into the hallway between their cubicles and said, “Let’s feel the weight of our situation. All of our locations are down and everybody in the field is frustrated with us.” The team visibly writhed with pain as they let themselves feel the full brunt of their emotions — all the embarrassment, guilt, and an overwhelming sense of abject failure. 

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