I agree with Bill that raising resources to fulfill your organization’s mission requires development officers to take ACTION. However, in our work culture, the FEAR of making mistakes are strong brakes
Research tells us that fear and other emotions highlight relational value. Emotions are social in nature, and they relate to the need to be known and valued by the important “others” in our work environment: our colleagues, peers and supervisors.
For example, if you are frustrated for making a mistake in the past, you are likely feeling that your performance has lowered your relational value to your supervisor. This frustration could then trigger anxiety about his/her and perhaps colleagues’ feelings, perceptions and thoughts toward you.
This anxiety then signals a stress reaction that you might lose relational value with these individuals now and in the future. This anxiety over a potential drop in your relational value could cause you to make future decisions that, in the long run, could be more harmful (such as not taking ACTION when you might have otherwise for fear of making a future mistake). This triggering of FEAR then leads you to anticipate an even further drop in your relational value before anything is even acted upon.
Some individuals attempt to quell their fears by “saving face” - an attempt to save the relational value that is understood to exist at the time of the mistake. This means though that the blame is placed on others or on conditions that are said to be out of one’s direct control. While saving face through blaming others or poor work conditions may work in the short term, this strategy can be detrimental to one’s career in the long term.
How is this cycle of FEAR that INTER-FEARS with ACTION ……..broken?
The way of Self-Agency (Self-focused) says that one overcomes mistakes through successful competition with others that demonstrates one’s effectiveness, social status, self-reliance, achievement, competency and power.
The other way is through Collaborative-Agency (Other-focused), which includes the capacity to allow others to support the work and give them due-credit. It includes taking the organization’s purpose and mission and owning it as part of who you are. It includes the understanding that the most effective professionals understand that they are not working in a silo and that their success depends on the relationship and valuing of all individuals who assist in making the project successful.
We, at Crouch and Associates, understand that relational value is probably most effectively achieved via the successful balance of Self-Agency and Collaborative-Agency processes. Extreme over-reliance on one as opposed to the other generally results in problems in relational value.
It is little wonder that today’s intense pressure to raise donor contributions and find fuller flow in other funding streams to support an organization’s mission creates high anxiety levels that can contribute to staff feeling devalued or undervalued.
Imagine what you and your development team could do if everyone had access to training and support to develop higher levels of emotional and relational skill sets to work more effectively with mistakes? You would then see:
FEARS…….NOT INTER-FEARING with ACTION!