May 5, 2011 / 12:28 PM / 8 years ago

Management Tip of the Day: Turn fear-mongering on its head

A Chinese farmer walks near a scarecrow at a village in central Shanxi province in this picture taken September 21, 2004. REUTERS/China Photos

BOSTON (Reuters Life!) - Fear is a very powerful emotion, and fear-mongering is one of the most effective strategies for killing good ideas. Harvard Business Review has some ideas for fighting back.

The Management Tip of the Day offers quick, practical management tips and ideas from Harvard Business Review and ( Any opinions expressed are not endorsed by Reuters.

“One of the most effective tactics for killing a good idea is to instill fear in the minds of those who need to approve it. In business, a common fear-mongering argument is that a proposal is somehow ‘against our core values’ and will erode the spirit and foundation of the company.

If this kind of accusation is aimed at your idea, resist becoming defensive. A simple retort is unlikely to soothe the fears that this kind of attack raises.

Instead, acknowledge that values are important and explain specifically how your idea is indeed in line with what the company stands for.”

-Today’s management tip was adapted from “Turning the Tables on a Fear-Mongering Attack” by John Kotter.

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