There are two battles as a leader. To win big. To be a strong leader.
One is to overcome fear. The other is to have the courage to do what is needed.
You need both to win.
Fear and courage sit either side of a barrier.
An invisible barrier.
That unconsciously guides us whether we want it to or not.
If you were to draw your barrier it might be colourful with the battle scars of life and learning.
Some leaders I have spoken to in my research have said fear comes in many forms.
It could be the fear of not meeting expectation, the fear of having the worlds eyes on them, imposter syndrome, personal battle with the idea of perfection and or the perceived impact an action could have on their personal identity.
Fear is personal to you.
As a leader you dont have the luxory to dwell on that.
What I do know, is that when we sit in the fear side of the barrier you feel weaker as a leader.
Courage gives you the energy, the internal push to do what you know you need to.
Courage comes from unity, collaboration and the feeling that the choices you make are for the better of not you but the immediate and wider community that you serve.
How can you win the battle?
It is important that you recognise that you are not alone.
The people I work with often don’t even know what is tripping them up as they rush from one thing to another.
They really value the opportunity to pause. Taking a step back and seeing themselves from a different perspective really helps.
My research has shown that leaders believe it is easier to be courageous when they are feeling strong. They do that by:
- Managing themselves so they are fit for purpose. Is your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health at peak performance?
- Clarifying what they mean. Articulate what the picture of success looks like.
- Gauge whether they are gaining traction. Not just looking at the P + L but having conversations with a range of people who are affected by their decisions.
- Know your wider context. Book three dates to go to conferences / see people in industry.
- Having a support network internally and externally to where they work. Find a mentor who can guide your current needs.
- Make time to connect to your people. Build time into the diary to talk to people.
- Create an environment of safety for your team and colleagues. Do what you say you will.
At the end of the day the strongest leaders spend a greater proportion of their time on the courage side of the barrier.
Doing one thing today from the list can keep you the right side of the barrier.
So there are two battles as a leader to win big.
One is to overcome fear and the other is to have the courage to do what is needed.
You need both to win.
What will you do today to stay the right side of the barrier?