Passions are ignited by unexpected achievement

Have you ever seen an employee who was convinced they could not do something; but then they did? It always unleashes a wave of pride and accomplishment. I have seen many an employee who then became very passionate about whatever it was. Suddenly they want to be the best, learn more and get the hit of accomplishment again. The other way people respond is to look outside of the accomplishment and look for other areas. Their insecurities are in full retreat and they are also looking for another hit of the positive version of pride.

For an organization this is very useful. Other employees will be watching as the above employee succeeds. Many will think to themselves, “If they can do it, so can I”. As an organization, this is exactly what we want.

A key element is the employees’ initial fear

The overcoming of the fear heightens the feeling of pride. If you believe you can do it at the beginning, then the accomplishment is presumed. There will be a certain amount of pride; but not the level described above. It is the employees who hold back not wanting to fail. In a weird paradox, it is also this fear which will drive the employee to succeed. Fear will either freeze you or drive you. There are many more employees with these fears then you would think.

When I was the VP of Human Resources for a manufacturing and service company, we had an employee who had this fear. I had no doubt, if we could get past the fear – he would blossom as an employee. He and I spoke about a training program which I wanted him to enroll. The fear in his eyes was very real. We spoke at length about what was driving this fear. It took a while; but, he finally told me about certain things his dad had told him as a kid. As a father, it was heart breaking.

We ended up in a discussion with his supervisor and the manager. They both made it clear, they had no doubt he would succeed. They passed on some thoughts to the employee which they had never shared before. By the end of the meeting the employee was fired up.  He ended up as one of the top graduates in every training program he enrolled. Eventually, he became one of our best employees.

Dealing with fear will reduce your skills gap and increase engagement