Summary of Driving Fear Out of the Workplace

Creating the High-Trust, High-Performance Organization

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Driving Fear Out of the Workplace book summary
Learn how to spot and stop fear in your office.


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8 Innovation

9 Style


Many modern managers unconsciously evoke fear to get results from their subordinates. Kathleen D. Ryan and Daniel K. Oestreich build on their consulting work and 260 interviews with staff members across organizational levels and industries to show how fear pervades the modern workplace and why it’s problematic. Powerful first-person vignettes from their fieldwork demonstrate how fear can motivate short-term results but erode trust and undermine productivity in the long term. Plenty of legitimate anxieties arise in the office, but this incisive primer will help you spot the subtle ways your organization might be adding to them by creating a harmful backdrop of fear. Managers will find this manual’s clear organization and detailed steps practical and helpful. As anxiety-inducing corporate changes grow more common and as workplace hierarchies flatten, this book’s advice has only become more relevant since its classic first edition. getAbstract recommends this eye-opening guide to any manager willing to take the challenging steps toward creating a healthier workplace environment.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How some organizational cultures create fear;
  • What fear costs companies;
  • How negative assumptions lead to a corrosive lack of trust, especially between different managerial levels; and
  • How you can forge a culture of trust.


Spotting Fear
Fear is a natural part of the human experience. In the workplace, rational anxieties about urgent business or looming changes are typical aspects of everyday life. However, when fear inhibits people from speaking up about new ideas, concerns or frustrations, it harms organizations...
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About the Authors

Kathleen D. Ryan, co-producer of the film, The Workplace Hustle, is a principal at a major consulting firm. Daniel K. Oestreich leads an organizational development consulting firm. Together, they also wrote The Courageous Messenger: How to Successfully Speak Up at Work.

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Contained in Knowledge Pack:

  • Knowledge Pack
    You can’t measure it, but you must have it. You can’t see it, but you can see its absence: trust in the workplace. How to get it, and keep it.

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