Unlike many (most?) people, leaders are often seen as being truly fearless.

Even the most challenging of circumstances, whatever they may be, seem to create little to no fear for (or in) them.

But that’s not always (read: actually) the case.

Don’t Fear the Fear

Sometimes, leaders feel a LOT of fear. Even if you can’t see it.

But it’s their ability to move forward, notwithstanding the fear, that sets them apart.

So it’s not really their ‘fearlessness’ – the absence of fear – but,  their ‘courageousness’ – their not letting the fear they feel slow them down.

And courageousness is an ESSENTIAL component of being a good leader.

(Courageousness is not the same as recklessness or being irresponsible. You get that, right?)

Do not strive to become comfortable in uncomfortable situations. Rather, learn to not mind being uncomfortable in such situations.

Becoming More Courageous

Admittedly, it’s a process, but here are some ideas to keep testing and challenging yourself with:

  • Quit waiting for permission…
    • By virtue of your position and rank, you’ve likely already got whatever permission you think you need.
    • Recognize that, and OWN it.
  • Articulate what you see…
    • To help you fine-tune your message.
    • So that others can see it, too.
  • Say what needs to be said…
    • Whatever ‘it’ is as clearly as possible.
    • Without diluting your message with avoidance or sugar-coating – and as politely and respectfully as possible.
  • Tell your staff meaningful things, such as…
    • ‘Here’s what I want you to think about…’
    • ‘Here’s what I think you’re missing…’
  • And when your staff tells you what IS missing…
    • Don’t just explain it away.
    • Really work to improve what you can and if you really can’t, explain why you can’t.
  • Share your insights and perspectives…
    • You’ve got good things to say.
    • Recognize that, and OWN it.
  • But, don’t shoot from the hip…
    • It rarely works as well as you think.
    • Impulsiveness has far more to do with being undisciplined than being courageous – realize the difference.
  • Speak from an informed point of view…
    • Keep your eyes on what’s IMPORTANT, not just on what’s HAPPENING.
    • Don’t pretend to know when you don’t – it leaves a mark!
  • Understand the 5 (or 6) Truths about Fear

the 5 (or 6) truths about fear

Feeling the Fear

Being courageous doesn’t not ELIMINATE fear; it just helps you better manage it – especially when tackling difficult issues.

Which, as a leader, is a large part of what you get paid to do.

For more on fear, fearlessness, and courageousness, visit https://www.leadershiptraction.com/executive-courage/.

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