I am a manager who supervises a team of 8. One of my employees ("Bob") expresses a fear of having his head bitten off, being raked over the coals, etc. prior to expressing his opinions (for example, "Don't bite my head off/rake me over the coals for saying this, but..." or "I know I'll be eaten alive for saying this, but..."). Bob does this virtually every time he expresses an opinion, even when his opinion is not much different from others'.
My 7 other employees and our larger team of 35 do not express this fear - they regularly share their opinions without preface.
Despite his fears, Bob shares his opinions several times at every meeting, frequently interrupting other team members and not waiting for them to finish. These are issues both his previous manager (who left the company for ostensibly unrelated reasons) and I have addressed with Bob, and he has improved in response. He has the capacity to change his behavior in response to feedback. Prior to our feedback, he would try to speak as much as possible during meetings.
I have never personally witnessed an incident in which Bob was chastised for his opinions or for sharing them, and Bob was not able to provide examples of such incidents when I asked. Nevertheless, Bob continues prefacing his opinions with his fears as mentioned above.
Ordinarily, this would pose no problem. However, this is now having the opposite effect.
Other team members have told me (during 1:1 meetings in private) that they are uncomfortable expressing their opinions after Bob has expressed his because they fear that if they disagree with Bob or criticize some aspect of his ideas, he would interpret that as having his head bitten off, being raked over the coals, etc. and become irritated or angry towards them. Three team members told me that they felt Bob was trying to pre-emptively squash disagreement even before speaking.
Bob seems to feel others impede him expressing his opinions freely, but ironically, the opposite appears to have become true. The rest of the team largely feels they are walking on eggshells around Bob. So, how do I frankly tell Bob that he needs to stop what is, at this point, an ingrained habit of expressing these fears before every time he expresses an opinion?