If Your Boss Couldn’t Fire You – What Would You Do Differently?

I’m willing to bet – a lot.

Fear runs a lot of our decision making ‘power’. It stops us from behaving in ways that we want to behave and instead, submits us into saying and doing things we believe are safer.

The truth is, by hiding behind fear, you risk all your safety. Here’s why.

FEAR is an emotional state; one of the 6 core emotions, and when referring to Robert Plutchik’s wheel of emotions, fear branches to terror, apprehension, and isolation. By expanding our vocabulary, we can now explain why safety is at risk when hiding behind fear.

Especially with your boss.

So, if you’re afraid of being fired, you’re more likely to steer clear from doing the following with your boss:

  • Disagreeing
  • Arguing
  • Confronting
  • Holding accountable
  • Challenging
  • Questioning
  • Being truthful
  • Being vulnerable
  • Being trusting

And yet, demonstrating ALL the above establishes a much more solid circle of safety because it promotes deep connection, deep understanding, and deep servitude – to each other.

Not to mention, on the other side of fear is all the GREAT STUFF!!

I’m 100% serious.

Think about the last time you did something that you were initially afraid of or fearful of. After taking the leap and doing it, was there an emotional, spiritual, physical, mental payoff greater than the fear? As long as you’re reading this…which means you didn’t die…your answer is likely “Yes. There was something great on the other side of fear. There was something that came out of that experience that gave me more than I expected to gain.”

Here’s the lesson I’d like to offer.

Fear is an important core emotion. Just like happy, sad, surprise, anger, disgust. It has a purpose.

From fear, the most readily available emotion is often anger. If you’re like most people, grabbing at anger does not serve anyone. It does not serve the self and it certainly does not serve other people. It doesn’t offer any nod to one’s core values either and because of this, anger will have you behaving in ways that will have you ruminating in shame and blame.

For every person, the purpose of your fear, is as individualized as you are. The goal is to figure out the source of your fear and harness its power toward action…not toward anger.


It’s going to be amazing once you do.

Just keep your eyes open for the landing.


Teresa Quinlan
Teresa Quinlan
Teresa Quinlan, Executive Coaching, Leadership Development, Speaker, Consultant. An Entrepreneur and Founder of her personal brand and the formula IQ+EQ=TQ, Teresa is passionate about emotional intelligence as the key ingredient to leveraging your IQ and personality and achieving the greatest levels of performance success. Teresa has been focused on transforming individuals, teams, and organizations to greater levels of performance since 1998 and has experienced leading teams and organizations through the highest of highs and the most challenging changes. Having spent over 25 years cultivating a rich and diverse set of skills, knowledge, behaviours, coaching and training new and experienced leaders, and mentoring, Teresa has developed shoot straight coaching, training, and mentoring techniques which foster opportunities for sustainable behavioural changes that lead to exceptional results; whether these results are to improve an individual's overall sense of well-being, a teams ability to be innovative, collaborative, self-organizing and self-directing, or an organizations ability to truly live their values throughout every uphill battle and downhill celebration. The road for Emotional Intelligence can being with the EQi-2.0 assessment; providing the baseline markers for one’s current EQ skill set. Development of EQ is done in many ways including: 1:1 Coaching, lEQdership – Leadership Development through Emotional Intelligence Program, Webinars, Speaking Engagements, Team coaching, and consultation. Listen to TNT ESQ podcast with co-host Rhys Thomas on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Anchor, and more.

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  1. Welcome to this unique community where you will certainly find opportunities to interact serenely and with great satisfaction.
    Fear is a topic that presents significant food for thought, also because it can lead to particularly serious situations and, therefore, must be managed in the right way.
    It is a feeling and, like others, it has two phases: biological and emotional. The biological response derives from external perceptions and is a sentiment common to all subjects who are in certain environmental situations, therefore it is a generalized and universal sentiment; the emotional one is highly subjective and individualized and depends on the character and the person who perceives it.
    About the fear of a boss, still aggressive people there are, but I find it hard to believe that young people today have “reverential fears” towards the “boss” figure, at least in Italy where firing is not (legally) simple and, frankly , I think this is a civilian conquest for the world of work.
    I am actually more passionate about the social function of fear.
    The survival function, for example, is not only addressed to the individual but can concern a group or an entire community or an entire ethnic group (think of the mass persecutions against a certain population, so the individual is hit only for his/her origins, this affront is not perceived by him/her as an attack against him/herself but to his/her entire genia). The emotional reaction becomes an emergency signal addressed to all con-specifics near or far and therefore potentially in danger for racial issues that have no boundaries.
    Fear also stimulates memory and learning: a bad experience can turn into an opportunity for future growth and improvement. In fact, it is always the errors, the ugly figures that are memorized and imprinted in the mind with more ease than things that are successful and were overcame.
    We could talk at length about fear. Thank you for bringing us this topic and I hope to have more opportunity to discuss other topics in the future.

    • Thank you – Gracias – Aldo! What a wonderful contribution you’ve made by highlighting cultural differences that will contribute to our interpretation of emotions in the workplace. This addition of your experience adds to the perspective opportunities. This is what I love most about social platforms – expansion of thought and perspective. Cognitive diversity!

    • Thank you for reading and expressing appreciation of my point of view.
      I absolutely agree with you on the use of social networks as tools for learning and interesting discussion between people who otherwise would never have met.
      I can say that sometimes I feel almost guilty if I just give a like without expressing an opinion, because I think it’s nice when the discussion expands, many persons, from different worlds, experiences, cultures, express their point ov view, certainly always of enrichment.

  2. Welcome! Appreciate you bringing up a topic – fear – that has been my sidekick for life. And usually when I leap things are OK.

    Question re this sentence: And yet, demonstrating ALL the above establishes a much more solid circle of safety because it promotes deep connection, deep understanding, and deep servitude – to each other.” Would the actual result depend on who your boss is?”

    • Yes indeed those results will depend upon your boss Jeff.
      Here’s what I have seen and experienced.
      We can only control ourselves. When we show up with emotional knowing and regulation, we are often capable of approaching those who are not, in ways that are successful in influencing their ability to be.
      Those who are not, can often be stuck in the cycle of dis-trust and what may be required for them to get out of that cycle is a consistent demonstration that they are psychologically safe; that you aren’t there to harm.
      We learn techniques to execute our intention and state our desires, up front, to lower guards, and encourage others to step into the circle of growth and development and safety together.

  3. Teresa, I appreciate how you invite people to look at fear differently, to embrace it for the gift and asset that it can be, and to gain clarity about our personal relationship with fear. What is the purpose of your fear? Love that question and invitation to explore from the following excerpt of your article:

    “For every person, the purpose of your fear, is as individualized as you are. The goal is to figure out the source of your fear and harness its power toward action…not toward anger.”

    I am so happy that your brilliant writing and insights will touch an expanded audience of readers and heart-centered humans. Welcome to the BizCatalyst360 and 360 Nation communities TQ!

    • Thank you so much Brian – I appreciate our personal and professional connection and relationship. Your support and encouragement, whether to myself or others, always brings a smile to my face. After all, my smile is connected to my heart.
      This invitation to explore is the only way we grow our emotional intelligence. We can’t just know which emotion we are experiencing. Fear or otherwise. We must go deeper to understand the trigger, the beliefs attached, the emotional and relationship history attached, the personal bias. Once we do this, we can then begin to shift emotional responses that are damaging to ones that are helpful to ourselves and to others. We over I.