Doubts, Insecurities and Fears, Oh My!

Doubt-Insecurity-FearLeadership is a tough job that requires courage. Doubts, insecurities and fears make organizational challenges more difficult and, in extreme cases, insurmountable. I have seen some seemingly confident leaders wrestle with anxiety and successfully overcome their fears. But there are many who don’t, taking down their company with:

  • Indecisiveness, leading to missed opportunities
  • Emotional deception, which prompts bad decisions
  • Suppression of people, forcing high turnover
  • Insecurity that manifests as self-centeredness
  • Confusion that causes leaders to miss threats at the doorstep

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. Leaders who can successfully put their fears behind them—and learn from them—make the greatest strides.

The fear-reduction process has four fundamental pillars, as outlined by management consultant Peter Bregmen in Leading with Emotional Courage: How to Have Hard Conversations, Create Accountability, and Inspire Action on Your Most Important Work (Wiley, 2018):

  1. Fears are greatly influenced by a lack of self-confidence. Leaders who boost their confidence address the most challenging of the four pillars.
  2. Strengthen your relationships and support structure.
  3. Practicing intentionality moves leaders farther away from fear through focus and an effective game plan.
  4. Facing fears directly and exposing them puts them behind you for good.

What do you think? As a leader, what has been your experience with doubt, insecurities and fear? I’d love to hear from you. You can call me at 704-827-4474; let’s talk. And as always, I can be reached here or on LinkedIn.

This entry was posted in executive leadership, leadership and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>