In society, leaders are vaulted and viewed as unflappable and fearless. No one would assume that Winston Churchill or Dwight D. Eisenhower was anything less than capable of the positions they held. Leaders, however, are subject to many of the same insecurities that their subordinates face. Oftentimes, the difference is the confidence those individuals have in pushing forward to overcome. If you find yourself in a position of leadership or desire to move upward, take these tips from Diamond Strategy Group on overcoming fear in leadership.
Trust Your Decisions
As a leader, you must be the one to make major decisions. Sometimes these will be wrong, sometimes they’ll be right and sometimes you may just get lucky. The key is to trust yourself. Second-guessing every decision will only cause more strife especially with those you’re tasked with leading. If you don’t trust yourself, how are they supposed to trust you? Trust what got you there in the first place, then own your decisions moving forward. You can’t change them so build from them and don’t look back.
You can’t please everyone, and you’ll kill yourself trying. If you let every criticism take a chunk out of your self-confidence, then you’ll find yourself battered and beaten in no time at all. A good leader will stand tall and take whatever is thrown their way. Don’t block it all out, be willing to take constructive criticism. Abraham Lincoln credited his presidency to the men he surrounded himself with, even those that didn’t like him. He said a smart man would surround himself with men smarter than he. Take the criticism and use it to grow, not deflate.
Fear of public speaking is one of the most commonly listed things that people dread. Yet in a position of leadership, you’re going to find yourself in front of small or large groups of people at times. Trust your voice and your listening audience will trust you as well. You don’t have to come across as a tyrant but be authoritative, speaking confidently and clearly.
As mentioned above, there will be times you make the wrong decision. There will also be times when someone under you makes the wrong decision. There will be times when everything around you seems to be crashing down. In all of these instances and more, take responsibility. Even if it’s not your fault, own the outcome. You are the one in charge so it all comes back to you anyways. No one is perfect and mistakes happen. But if you take responsibility as the leader then others will respect you more for it and provide support as you move forward.
As a leader, the only fear that should drive you constantly is that of failure. Billy Beane, the mastermind behind Moneyball, once said “I hate losing even more than I wanna win.” That drives a person who desires success, especially as a leader. Even once you reach the top, the fear of falling back to the bottom will keep you up there. You can only allow this fear to exist if you’ve overcome the others.
Being in charge is a scary concept, even for those with personalities that thrive in such a position. It’s natural to have those fears. A good commander understands what it takes and will keep in mind these tips for overcoming fear in leadership.
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