With Halloween recently passing, now is the perfect time to talk about fear. Or more specifically, how not to let fear get in your way of leading.
Sure, there are times when you will face significant challenges or be forced to make a risky move. And sometimes, you will fail. We all have experienced failure, but that’s because we have demonstrated the courage to try.
As leaders, we are confronted every day with situations that can make us anxious and second guess ourselves, but in order to be effective we must face our fears head on. As a leader, here are some common fears that we must learn to conquer in order to lead effectively:
Making the wrong decision: I think each day I have to make more than 50 decisions—some big and some small. Will, I bat a thousand? Nope. It is easy to get overwhelmed but keeping the weight of decisions in perspective and be willing to accept that you made a bad call and move forward from there is required in order to stay in the game. It is also important to remember that making a decision—even if it turns out not to be exactly the right one—is better than kicking the can down the road and making no decision at all.
Serving as an authority: You are a subject matter expert in your field. You would not have gotten to where you are without the ability to speak effectively on your chosen subject. But it is easy to get nervous and be afraid to speak out publicly. The best way to overcome this fear is to relax and be prepared. Everyone flubs a line now and then. Mistakes make us human and what make us relatable to others.
Being judged for your leadership style. We all lead differently—some use humor, some of us remain more authoritative and professional. We all have our unique personalities and the ways we relate to people. The important thing to remember is that if you are treating team members with respect and communicating clearly, you will be successful. Don’t be afraid to show who you are and be yourself. Again, that will make you relatable to your fellow team members.
As a leader, the buck stops with you. Your team looks to you for guidance and direction. The moment you let fear–even a rational one–get in your way, you will find yourself on shaky ground. Overcoming fear can be difficult but it is certainly possible and necessary if you want to continue to be successful.