Something I’ve noticed in my work as a leadership coach is people’s surprise that even the top leaders in their field can be troubled by fears. People think once you make it to a certain level you have it all under control. But running a business and leading people are difficult, complex jobs, and leaders—like the rest of us—have their share of fears.
It’s not having fears that’s important—we all do, at least once in a while. It’s what you do with your biggest fears that makes a difference in your future. Here are some of the top fears I coach top leaders through. Do any of them sound familiar?
Not being smart enough. Many leaders are afraid of not being smart enough, knowledgeable enough, and competent enough. It’s a fear so common it has a name—imposter syndrome, the feeling that you’re not at all qualified to be doing what you’re doing and that you landed where you are through some oversight or mistake of the universe. Left unchecked, this is one of the most destructive fears to leadership. Learn to leverage your fear by tapping into your competences and capabilities so you can build the confidence you need to banish imposter syndrome.
Making a bad decision. Making decisions is a big part of leading, and it’s something you likely do daily if not hourly. It’s easy to lock up out of fear that you’re going to make a wrong choice and disaster will follow. But here’s the thing: you will make a wrong decision at some point. Every leader does. And the best way to overcome the fear is to remember that fact.
Taking risks. Every leadership role demands a significant amount of risk taking, which leads naturally enough to fear of failure. But a certain amount of risk is necessary for successful leadership—so allow yourself to feel the fear, then do it anyway.
Being ineffective. Every leader wants to be effective, and fear often takes the shape of concern that you’re not being as impactful or credible as you could be. The only way to overcome the fear of ineffectiveness is to make sure your character and values always lead the way. You can never go wrong when you lead from within.
Failing badly. The fear of failure is possibly the most pervasive among leaders. That’s why it’s important to remember, is that failure not fatal. Often failure is the thing that causes you to look at things differently and improves your odds of success the second time around. Virtually every success includes some degree of failure.
Fears will always influence us and cause a certain amount of inner turmoil. It’s what we do with these fears that will make the difference.
Lead from within: As a leader, you gain strength, courage and confidence through every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face and work through it with dignity.
N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- It’s Never Too Late to Learn These 12 Powerful Leadership Habits
- My Best Advice for Leaders When Things Are Going Wrong
- 4 of the Most Important Skills of the Future
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- How to Increase Your Influence Using 5 Simple Words
Photo Credit: iStock Photo
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.