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FOPO, the Fear of People's Opinion

Good managers combat their employees' fear of people's opinion. Read more to know how.FOPO, the Fear of People's Opinion

Familiar with FOMO? Meet FOPO, the Fear of People's Opinion.

A PGA professional, a local teaching pro, and an amateur compete on a golf course in front of an audience and cameras.

As expected, the PGA professional performs well.

The amateur golfer thrives on the excitement for the unusual challenge.

However, the teaching pro unexpectedly underperforms due to anxiety.


He was used to being “the expert”. Now his identity is threatened by the obvious superior skills of the PGA pro and the amateur's unexpectedly good performance.

He fears judgment from the audience and the other players, causing him to enter survival mode, limiting his potential.

Survival mode is when we focus our energy on surviving instead of thriving.

In the workplace, we enter survival mode when we just do what we’re told without contributing with new ideas or speaking up proactively.

Junior employees, like the amateur, have little to lose and are excited to share their opinion. Executives, like the PGA pro, already know how to handle pressure and office politics.

On the other hand, senior employees starting to climb the ladder can struggle, just like the teaching pro.

Good managers combat FOPO, by creating a shield around their senior employees and by fostering a purpose-driven culture.

Purpose-based teams, unlike performance-based ones, go beyond mere metrics and strict tasks.

Employees driven by a clear purpose aren't afraid to speak up or try new ideas because they aren't intimidated by the occasional performance dips.

They overcome survival mode and start thriving.

They are more engaged and proactive, ultimately delivering more value.

Read more: Free Your People from the Need for Social Approval

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