How you lead as a business manager, department head or owner is critical in times such as these.
You have to keep a calm head and not let the pressure of the doom and gloom enter into your actions or your emotions. Today, I want to share four fatal fears which can creep in and destroy your leadership if you are not guarding your thoughts and attitude.
Fatal Fear #1-The Fear of Being Wrong
The fear of being wrong can paralyze your leadership efforts because if this fear is existing, it can make it extremely difficult to allow input from your management team or employees. Voices that challenge your ideas or conclusions can be irritating to you because you feel immense pressure to BE RIGHT because your fear of being wrong is so strong.
This can cause creativity and imagination to dwindle from those around you. Ultimately, the fear of being wrong will lead you right into, you guessed it, being wrong.
*Important note: Remember as the owner or leader of your organization, you spend a whole lot more time thinking about your business or organization than your team. You are much further down the road in your thought process in the vision than they are. You may have the whole picture figured out and firmly placed in your mind and they have not even seen a piece of it or understand your thought process at all. It is your job as leader to constantly find ways to paint your vision onto their mental screens as much as and as often as possible. Do as much communicating as you do thinking. The reason communication is typically a weakness on every company’s SWOT analysis is that communication is work and mostly thinking is easy.
Fatal Fear #2: The Fear of Failure
One of the characteristics of leadership is the sense of adventure one gets out of the daily process. When leaders begin to possess a fear of failure, they are often reluctant to act. They may procrastinate in decisions and miss great opportunities. Unless someone has a highly analytic-type personality, most effective leaders do not need every possible piece of information before moving forward. Most of the time, they can intuitively “fill-in” the blanks through experience or knowledge. This is why this fear plagues young leaders more than experienced ones. They believe their career hinges on each decision. It’s not true, but it will hinder the decision making process at times. Risk vs reward is what makes the world go around!
Don’t get stuck in the context of finding answers rather than re-framing questions. Questions are always the key. Fear of failure will force a feeling of information poverty. All-or-nothing thinking is never where you want to be as a leader.
There is no formula for 100% success all the time. There is only continual improvement from where you are on your batting average. I made 27 major business decisions last year at our firm. I don’t want to tell you how many of those were wrong decisions. I will tell you the ones that were right were tremendous. That is what keeps you out front.
Fatal Fear #3: The Fear of Rejection
The fear of rejection makes it difficult for leaders to take a stand and define themselves in situations where they feel relationships feel endangered. Leaders who fear rejection are also afraid to confront performance that is running against standards or culture. This causes leaders to try and force themselves to present themselves in a palatable way to everyone except themselves. This can only lead to stress, burnout and lack of confidence. Other leaders, especially if introverted, will pull themselves away from the relationships and isolate themselves from the very people to which they desire to connect.
How can you engage those people?
In what situations are you feeling rejected from your team?
What situation did you avoid today for fear of being rejected?
What did you learn abut yourself and your leadership style from this experience?
Taking time to think about these questions and answers will give you confidence and direction as to how to solve the issue at hand and get back on track to productivity.
Fatal Fear #4: The Fear of Emotional Discomfort
When leaders need emotional comfort they lack the capacity to remain present and engaged when faced with resistance from others.
They tend to avoid emotionally charged discussions and miss the natural opportunity for learning and growth. Leaders who attempt constant emotional comfort become cut off from their own emotions and therefore unable to correctly respond to the emotions of others. It is almost impossible for leaders to make difficult decisions when they are paralyzed by the fear of others’ emotional responses.
Did anything make you emotionally uncomfortable today?
What did you do to avoid the discomfort?
What did not get resolved because of your emotional discomfort?
What did you learn about yourself today?
Make sure the fears I’ve shared here do not replace your values. If that happens, it will lead to ethical lapses, poor and untimely decisions, ineffective communications and dysfunctional relationships.