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  • Writer's pictureLiz Tracy

Leaders Need Support Structures

Updated: Nov 8, 2022

Where does fear get in your way as leader? You certainly aren’t alone if it does. (If it doesn’t, good for you, but keep reading anyway maybe you can help someone else!)

Leadership fears can slow you down in many ways, including indecisiveness, leading to missed opportunities and Emotional deception, which prompts bad decisions.

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. Have you seen this happen? Has it happened to you?

Remember fears are natural and part of the complex world we live in. Your goal is to name them so you can take aim at them!

In my last blog we talked about the value of boosting confidence. 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: Leaders need to continually strengthen their support structures and relationships!

  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 2nd pillar: Strengthen Your Relationships and Support Structure.

Self-confident leaders have a support network of solid relationships, which helps reduce fears and fosters unity. Trusted and respected friends can offer critiques without causing offense. Building relationships with colleagues and subordinates similarly helps you grow and improve. Think of all you learn as you hear others wrestle with similar challenges. How can this help you in your work?

Leaders must pave the way in building staff trust; it starts with valuing and engaging people. Show sincere interest in your people with active listening, where you ask questions and do less of the talking. Offer your people understanding and empathy in their times of struggle. Sometimes people just need to be heard, but if you can help with a solution, you can establish even greater trust. And, it gets you out of your own head!

Improving your communication skills helps mitigate fears, especially when you’re faced with serious challenges. Be clear and ask others for clarity. Make points that are relevant to the other person’s perspective.

Leadership expert Tony Robbins stresses the importance of discovering others’ needs with openness and sincerity. When both parties express their needs with mutual understanding, they honor each other and establish respect. You’re more likely to find workable solutions that meet everyone’s needs when respect is evident.

What do you think? Where can you build a support structure to help you lead through fear? Where has a support structure helped you in other aspects of your life? How can you repeat that same process as a leader now?

I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at or learn more about my coaching practice at and on LinkedIn. In my next blog, I’ll dive into the 3nd pillar: Practice Intentionality.

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