Companies face constant and diverse threats: a volatile economy, politics, cost overruns, competition, and disruptive technology, among others. But there’s a particular internal threat that can dwarf them: fear at the leadership level.
In my last blog we talked about building critical support structures. Let’s continue with these 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. Self-Confidence: Fears are greatly influenced by a lack of self-confidence. Leaders who boost their confidence address the most challenging of the four pillars.
2. Support Structures: Strengthen your relationships and support structure need nurturing and strengthening.
3. Be Intentional: Practicing intentionality moves leaders farther away from fear through focus and an effective game plan.
4. Face them!: Facing fears directly and exposing them puts them behind you for good.
Today, let’s explore the 3rd pillar: Be Intentional.
Leaders who convert critiques into improvements develop the strongest followings and have the fewest fears. They not only welcome feedback, but they request it. They view constructive feedback as free self-development lessons.
Take intentional action on the feedback you receive. Admit you need to improve, take the required steps to do so and share the results. Knowing that every person can improve eases fears; no one has cornered the market on personal and professional development.
Being intentional about preparation builds confidence. Gather facts and data, anticipate different outcomes and weigh the pros and cons. Understand the truth and scope of circumstances, and trust the people who help you determine them.
Intentionally sharpen your focus on the tasks at hand. Too many opportunities often muddle the picture and invite confusion, doubt and overwhelm. This has been a particular challenge for me, what about you? As negative emotions gain a foothold, fears quickly follow and self-confidence plummets.
Intentionality is perhaps best seen in leaders who show resilience when facing setbacks. If you can quickly dispatch disappointments and find something positive in the problem that confronts you, your people will feel more encouraged. This, in turn, encourages you.
In my next blog, I’ll dive into the 4th pillar: Face them! In the meantime, what do you think? Where can you be more intentional to help you mitigate fear and lead? Where has embracing feedback helped you in other aspects of your life? How can you repeat that same process as a leader now?