As a leadership and executive coach, I get to work with leaders around the world. Cultural differences emerge in many discussions, but when the topic of fear comes up people all over the world tend to react the same way: they become overwhelmed by the sense of uncertainty and the unknown.
Part of my job involves coaching leaders in overcoming those feelings. Here are some of the suggestions I use:
Take a breather. Too many leaders approach fear by trying to work 24/7 without taking a break. But exhaustion leaves you vulnerable, and it’s impossible to think clearly when you’re flooded with fear. The first thing to do is take a breather and calm yourself physically.
Stop avoiding your fear. Avoiding fears only makes them scarier. Whatever your fear, it can’t dissipate until you face it. Fear is big, and it’s natural to try and turn away—but that approach only makes things worse.
Imagine the worst. Try imagining the worst thing that can happen. Then imagine yourself in that situation. Once you’ve seen and understood the worst possible outcome you become stronger, because fear thrives in the unknown.
Face your fear. If you can face your fear, you can respond to it as a problem to solve. View the fear as a piece of information instead of a threat to your leadership. In time fear can even become an ally—a source of guidance to help you avoid pitfalls as you grow into your potential as a leader.
Don’t try to be perfect. Every leader faces stress, and often these stresses produce fears. Don’t add to that stress and fear by aiming for perfection. In most situations you don’t have to find the perfect solution—you just have to respond in a way that helps solve the problem.
Plan for action. Fear tends to stop us in our tracks, so in fearful times it’s important to plan and then act. Take some time to think things through, then resolve to take action in the direction that seems best. The worst possible response is to stop and do nothing.
Surround yourself with success. Be strategic about the people you work with and talk to. If your inner circle is positive and energetic, they’ll leave you feeling empowered to work through your fear and take effective action. The energy around you will always make a difference.
Get support. It’s hard to move forward in your leadership when you’re living with fear. If you aren’t able to overcome it on your own, it’s time to find some support. A coach is often the best solution—someone outside your inner circle who can bring a new perspective to an old situation and new insights into the source of your fear.
Lead from within: Every leader experiences fear. It’s what they do with that fear that makes the biggest difference.
#1 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:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
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.