Whoever coined the phrase “fearless leader” must not have been a leader. Because “fear” and “leadership” go together hand in hand.
Talk to any effective leader and they will tell you that fear has been a lifelong companion on their leadership journey. Anytime you push the envelope, launch a new initiative, or stake out new territory, you can be sure there will be an element of fear involved.
One of the most important things I’ve learned from great leaders is how they move forward in the face of such fear.
And what I’ve discovered is that these leaders have embraced 4 key truths about fear in leadership.
1. Fear is a positive signal that you’re moving forward
If you want to avoid fear, just stay where it’s most comfortable.
But if you want to move yourself, or your organization forward, count on encountering moments of fear. And recognize it as a signal that things are happening.
2. Fear can sharpen your leadership instincts
In moments of fear, all of your senses become sharpened. Your mind begins to work more quickly. You process information at an accelerated rate. Some of your best leadership thinking could come when you’re out on the edge.
3. Fear can draw support
When you stand in front of your people and say, “Team, we’re moving into exciting territory now and there are great opportunities ahead of us. But I don’t mind admitting to you, I’m a bit scared in all of this,” you are being an authentic leader.
Watch as your team rallies around you in response.
4. Fear can keep you humble
The root of a lot of many leaders’ fears is the uncertainty in their own abilities. “Can I actually pull this off?”
It takes humility to admit you’re unsure. And that humility will take you a long way in your leadership.
So as you consider your next bold leadership move, don’t shrink back if you feel the sensation of fear creeping in.
Instead, embrace the fear factor.
It could be telling you that you’re heading in the right direction.