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Fear in the Workplace logo
Fear in the Workplace logo

Fear in the Workplace

A "must have" for organizations serious about psychological safety.




Help your teams to make the first steps towards psychological safety and high performance. Enable the culture of experimentation and learning.

COMING SOON: German translations

French translation is now available: Peur au Travail

Try it with a new "Safety in the Workplace" extension.

Why this game?

Many researchers in their independent studies identified psychological safety as one of the most critical elements in enabling engagement, innovation and high performance.( Google's project Aristotle, Amy Edmondson, William A. Kahn)

If you are following DevOps movement, you will recognize safety as a prerequisite for the Third Way of DevOps - "Culture of Continual Experimentation and Learning"

Yet, in many organizations today one can observe symptoms of fear: endless meetings, employees’ disengagement, blame and a lack of trust.

It doesn't have to be that way! Help your teams and your organization take the first step away from a culture of fear. You can enable deep conversation and move closer to a culture of learning and psychological safety with "Fear in the Workplace" game.

Initially designed by Dana Pylayeva for her keynote session at Agile Games 2018, this set is a collection of typical signs of toxic culture in the workplace. The fears in this deck have been discovered in coaching engagements in US, UK, Ireland, Canada and Japan.

When is a good time to use "Fear in the Workplace"?

We used the Fear cards in retrospectives, one-on-one coaching conversations, Lean Coffee and Community of Practice meetups. Somehow, pointing to silly monster images, dot-voting, prioritizing them for further conversations helped to externalize feelings, to step back and to have deep discussions.

In one of the organizations, we even brought in the Fear deck to facilitate a conversation between a new remote manager and her co-located team. As one of the team members noted:

It was so simple and SO effective, propelling the conversation forward in ways we never would have been able to otherwise.

Every card in this deck has a story. Together they give the teams a shared vocabulary, externalize fears and simplify difficult conversations.

What's in the desk:

  • Seventeen organizational Fear cards
  • Fifteen cards with the Symptoms of Fear
  • Sixteen ClassifyMe cards (with various real-life scenarios)
  • Four joker cards
  • Two suggested activities for using this deck. Experiment and discover what works for your team!

This Fear in the Workplace set will help you start the journey, build alliances and have serious conversations in a fun way.

Presented at international conferences

  • Agile Games 2018 Keynote, Boston, USA ("Team up to eradicate fear" slides)

  • Agile Camp San Francisco 2018, USA ("Team Up to Eradicate Fear from Organizational Culture" video)

  • INTED2019 - 13th International Technology, Education and Development Conference, Spain

  • Global Scrum Gathering Austin 2019, USA ("Team up to eradicate fear")

  • Agile + DevOps West 2019, Las Vegas, USA ("You Can't Have DevOps if Fear Is Running Your Workplace" )

  • AgileCamp New York Metro 2019, NYC, USA
  • Agile + DevOps East 2019, Orlando, USA
  • OOP2020, February 2020m Munich, Germany
  • AgileIndia 2020, March, Bengaluru, India (scheduled)

Check out "Dealing with Fear in the Workplace" podcast with Dana Pylayeva recorded by SolutionsIQ.


A new "Safety in the Workplace" extension. The set includes a number of safety enhancers and a variety of tools designed to increase psychological safety. As organizations need to attack fear from all fronts, this deck will include practices effective in fighting organizational fears at individual, team as well as the leadership levels.


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Average Rating 4 reviews
Publish Date October 15, 2018
Edition Second
Department Games
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More Info Fear in the Workplace web site

Why buy this?

  • Learn to recognize symptoms of fear in your team
  • Externalize fears & enable deep conversations with your team
  • Take the first steps towards psychological safety

Agile Play Consulting LLC

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  • This game contains a premium upgrade called UV Coating that makes the printed components more durable.


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