Q In my office everyone is afraid of his own shadow. Our boss is a real ogre who makes us all think we're going to get fired. What can we do about it?
Ans. It sounds as though your boss is over 60, because younger supervisors usually understand fear is NOT a motivator. Instead it discourages enthusiasm and creativity, as is explained in Terms of Engagement by Richard H. Axelrod. If you have courage enough to take a risk, ask for a meeting, and explain to him that fear is creating unrest in the office. Suggest he meet with a representative of the staff every few weeks to discuss how business is doing, and how well employees are doing and report back to the staff. He probably has no idea he's terrifying his people because he's "always done it this way." You will be taking a risk, but if you don't you may develop ulcers.