In fear of fear

In hairtearing over why the world has not thrown off the frigid fetters of outmoded Taylorist management by observation and embraced fully flushed flexibility, trust invariably casts the longest shadow. The hope proffered is that when managers no longer fear to trust, the ingrained old ways will whither.

Fear is as much discussed as trust – usually of course by those who are ballsy enough not to suffer its debilitations. Yet where there is fear – or phobia – there is an object. Interestingly, a number of such conditions, already named, are rarely mentioned in the context of work or workplace. Perhaps they should be, as they are everywhere about us.

The first, and most telling is pistanthrophobia – the fear of trusting someone due to past experience. Consider, an entire strata of besuited pistanthrophobes, cast in darkness and unable to yield, for the last time they turned away their faith was ridiculed. The report was not written, the calls not made, the applications left unprocessed. Never again.

But what to do about it? Cue the agitation, angst, mental paralysis and onrushing dependence upon others from decidophobia – fear of making decisions. Perhaps it may even contagious, when a meeting is called?

Yet if the solidification were overcome, and a path forward conceived, what if rampant cainotophobia gripped us all? Don’t be afraid of this term, new to you as it will be – it means fear of innovation, change, the unfamiliar. It has a more accessible name, neophobia, but is just as terrifying in either attire. When did you ever lead a project, the idea or method of delivery of which was happily embraced by all?

Yet is all of these were marginalised and you were set free, sent out into café society with your office under your arm, you may just wonder why you ever wished for it, beset as you are by crippling autophobia – fear of being alone. Oh, for the irregular interruptions of colleagues, the clustered tyranny of the commute, and the lingering steely gaze of a manager.

Yet if none of these fears are remotely haunting, and your yearning for management by objective simply seems stifled by the crusted century of personified reaction sitting before you in judgment, it may just be coulrophobia that is eating you alive.

Fear of clowns.

Somewhere in our hearts, we are all a little afraid of something.

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