Companies face myriad threats: a volatile economy, politics, cost overruns, competition and disruptive technology, among others. But there’s a particular internal threat that can dwarf them: fear at the leadership level.
Fearful leaders often cannot deal with difficult issues or conversations, so moderate troubles balloon into true crises. They also resist taking the risks necessary to move their companies forward.
Fears can take many forms: discomfort, incapacity, negative feelings, failure and self-criticism. Each carries numerous side effects, most rooted in a fear of rejection. Fears make a leader ineffective and paralyzed. Plans are often forfeited, as is success.
We often forget that fears are part of the universal human experience. They’re normal, to some degree, even for leaders. The goal is to avoid compensating for them and, instead, identify and overcome them.
In Leading with Emotional Courage: How to Have Hard Conversations, Create Accountability, and Inspire Action on Your Most Important Work (Wiley, 2018), management consultant Peter Bregmen outlines four fundamental pillars in the fear reductions process:
- Fears are greatly influenced by a lack of self-confidence. Leaders who boost their confidence address the most challenging of the four pillars.
- Strengthen your relationships and support structure.
- Practicing intentionality moves leaders farther away from fear through focus and an effective game plan.
- Facing fears directly and exposing them puts them behind you for good.
Leaders who can successfully put their fears behind them—and learn from them—make the greatest strides.
This article explores fear at the leadership level and suggests ways in overcoming leadership fears to lead confidently, boldly and effectively.
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The complete articles and Article Nuggets include these important concepts:
- Boost your self-confidence
- Build strong relationships
- Practice intentionality
- Directly deal with fears
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