What To Do With Workplace Threats – Grow or Go?


Threats in the Workplace – Grow or Go

I came across an article about Fear as a Management Technique recently and tucked it away for my next work day post. In preparing to write today, I decided to dig a little deeper. Indeed it seems to be a favorite topic from a management and leadership perspective.  Apparently, it has its advantages as well as disadvantages as a means of motivating employees. Given the fact that the majority of people working for companies aren’t the CEO, it’s likely you care more about the impact coercion has on you. Regardless of the pros and cons of it, it’s unlikely one person’s opinion will change the company culture.  Like all relationships, the only individual that we can change is ourselves.  The decision we face is “will we grow or will we go?”

Do not claim you want to grow and then run away the minute you feel growing pains. –Bossbabe tweet

Three Reasons to stay and grow

  1. Why is the threat occurring? Are you being threatened punishment for not following a directive, making it to a meeting on time or another task in your job description? Regardless of whether it’s communicated effectively, there is a tremendous opportunity to grow and become an asset in your job.  Employees who are as assets are in high demand. Either way, you benefit – in your annual review or your next job interview.
  2. Are you too thin-skinned?  Sometimes we can be overly sensitive to criticism. Whether it’s inexperience, immaturity, a personality trait, or a childhood wound that’s triggered, there is room for growth. Take the opportunity to learn about yourself and how you can respond or release rather than react.
  3. Is this an opportunity to stand up for yourself and communicate your needs? Workplace coercion leads to undue stress and high turnover rates.  If you are an asset to the company, they will appreciate your honesty in talking with them. Granted you may not change the culture; you will have earned respect when you stand up for yourself.

Three Reasons to say goodbye and go

  1. Has the unhealthy work environment created an unhealthy you? Do you find your weight, anxiety levels or emotional stability putting you at risk in the current environment?
  2. Are you adopting those poor communication habits in your relationships? To put it another way are you kicking the cat? Often times we allow the attitude and lack of healthy communication we endure to become the norm for ourselves. While choosing your attitude is a growth opportunity, sometimes a toxic environment is difficult to shake at the end of the day.
  3. The ability to learn and advance has reached its end. Sometimes there is a benefit to remaining in an unhealthy environment for a period of time.  Are there skills that you needed to learn, the experience that was crucial to gain? Considering any remaining benefit to tolerating the environment could lead you to an easy decision of “it’s time to go.”

Grab your journal; it’s your turn to grow

Take a few moments and reflect on your environment at work and journal your response to the following questions:

  1.  Do you work in an unhealthy and threatening environment? If no, send a thank you to your boss. Bosses are rarely appreciated and this is a good reason to do so. Take a few moments to list a few other reasons you are grateful for your work environment and/or boss.
  2. If the answer to question one was yes then identify what your next steps are? Do you have more growing to do? Or is it time to start looking for a place to go?
  3. Is there a friend or co-worker that could use this post? Share it with them and provide any mentoring or encouragement they might need.


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