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  • Kick Ass Zombie Hunter

Running from the Tiger

Paintings of tigers.

Our human brain is not wired for answering emails, going to meetings, or working with clients. It’s built for survival. Thousands of years ago that meant finding food to eat, keeping warm, and, when necessary, running from tigers.

Despite our modern advances in technology, our brain is still in this mode.

Searching for tigers.

And it still finds them.

Instead of furry ones with big claws though, they’re the dismissive way your co-worker responded to your idea, the questionable tone in an email from a client, the lack of clarity in directions on your most recent assignment, or the negative comment from your supervisor last week.

All of these things have the potential to put us in fight or flight mode – increasing our heart rate, pumping cortisol into our bodies, and a decreasing our higher-level cognitive abilities.

While this served us well when we needed to run from actual tigers, today it impacts our attention span, memory, creativity, learning, communication, and focus. It can lead to chronic stress, poor sleep habits, emotional disruptions, and aggression.

While it is important to be aware of external threats to our organizations, when we are forced to consistently respond to “tigers in the grass” internally, we diminish not only the potential of our teams, but risk the health and wellbeing of our people.

If you want to start banishing the tigers your team faces at work, use the worksheet below and have each team member identify common workplace tigers, and the impact they have on them and their work. Then, working together, brainstorm ways to remove these tigers from your environment.

Download PDF • 847KB



Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. What “tigers” exist in your workplace? What things cause you stress or fear?

  2. What impact do these things have on you and your work?

  3. What benefits would there be to removing these “tigers”?


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