Fear of success

“We have a sales person who is capable of earning 2-3 times more than he currently does, but for whatever reason he isn’t able to overcome obstacles that would allow him to move up to a higher level.

Self-imposed barriers often impede progress without the person being fully aware of what he or she is doing. It may be necessary to scrutinize the person’s mental limitations as well as the situation, in order to find out what is holding up his progress.
Struggles within one’s mind can be the biggest roadblock against achieving success. It’s not your task, nor likely your forte, to psychoanalyze what are the causes and effects of another’s behavior. However, it will be helpful for you as a manager to understand that this person may have internal struggles that are interfering with his ability to continually improve and advance. Consider a few obstacles he may be fighting:

  • He may fear success. Fear of success is natural if someone has little experience with it. Many people are much more familiar with mediocrity than with success, and therefore lack the drive to pursue goals. As a manager, you need to reward small successes and use them as building blocks to achieving bigger successes.
  • The goal may be seen as unattainable. If this is so, examine how you presented the goals. Intimidating goals could send him into a tailspin. Take the time to think it through and present it from his point of view. Break the goal down into smaller more easily achievable steps by mapping out a long journey through a series of tasks.
  • Procedures for achieving the goals are too rigid. Be careful about not imposing structures that are “set in stone“. Many managers do exactly this because they lack basic confidence in their own abilities and the abilities of team members. Focusing on results instead of methods will open the door for your team to contribute more of their own originality.
  • Rewards appear inadequate. The reward may not appear to be consistent with the level of effort required. As a manager you may need to convince your salesman that the goal is worth achieving, and that the rewards outweigh the effort.

Article prepared by Renée LeMoine, Executive Director, LeMoine & Associates






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