Have you ever sat at your desk and wondered if you were going to be fired?

Last week, when I was speaking at Barclays Capital, I had a moment that all speakers fear: I asked a question that fell flat in the moment. Now, I feel very good about how I handled this situation, however, it was an interesting moment to me.
I had asked, “Have you ever sat at your desk and wondered if you were going to be fired?” and not a single hand went up. Now typically, several people raise their hand, and we acknowledge that in fact they did not REALLY believe they were going to be fired, but the anxiety of the moment left them wondering.
This group though, they never had that fear and it left me with a new question…
How has this organization managed to provide such security to their employees? Is it through open communication? Is it through a thorough HR process where the employees understand that it takes a significant error, repetitively to actually be let go?
My purpose in asking this question is to show the value and importance of seeking feedback from our supervisors and colleagues.  We are likely to assume the worst, and so afraid of hearing it that we never ask. In this group, it was clear that feedback was not part of their day to day.
However, this group had recently completed their self assessments.  lightbulb emoji. They had recently been given a chance to describe all the things they did well this year and now I asked them to think about a time they felt bad about their performance. They were not in that mindset. They were in a positive growth mindset… the exact topic of my presentation!
I am so excited to learn more about the power of self assessments on employees and how this can impact their perception of themselves and productivity at work!
Does your employer require self assessments as part of the annual review process? How often to you pause and ask yourself how things are going, not in a state of anxiety, but just as an honest overall picture?

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