Fear is the prime source of motivation in command-and-control organisations. Fear of what will happen if you:

• don’t make your numbers
• don’t follow rules and procedures
• argue with the hierarchy
• take time off sick

People spend their time avoiding trouble. It is not likely that they’ll spend much time learning/contributing/and improving performance.

It is no surprise that we see stress amongst people who work in command-and-control organisations. How should we tackle the problem? With stress management training programmes? Surely these only tackle symptoms, if they are of any value at all. It would be better to tackle the causes; to remove the sources of stress and replace them with conditions which facilitate learning and improvement. Paradoxically, less stress means greater economic vitality.

‘Drive out fear’ was point 8 of Deming’s 14 points for management.

Some HR folk think coaching is the antidote to management by fear. It is not.