Leaders are called to be many things. Leaders need to be brave. Leaders need to be honest. Leaders need to be innovative.
But one thing leaders cannot do is to let fear rule their decisions.
When fearful leaders rule, bad things begin to happen.
I’ve been trying to catch up on the TV series 24 with Keifer Sutherland as Jack Bauer. He’s one bad dude you don’t want to mess with.
In 24, you rarely see him come across as fearful. The further I’ve watched 24 (I’m on season 5 or 6 right now), the more clear it’s become about the role fear should play in leadership.
You’ll see multiple presidents come and go on the show. Currently, there’s President Logan running the nation.
He’s a man who’s ruled by fear. President Logan fears:
Making a bad choice
Having his legacy marred
Listening to the wrong person
Choosing between bad and worse
The longer you watch President Logan try to lead the country on 24, the more you can see fear creeping into his leadership. Choices are made that no sane person would make. Eventually, he becomes very unlikable as a leader.
Fear causes us to do crazy things. Fear causes leaders to make bad choices.
Through all of his desires to leave a positive legacy, the choices President Logan makes because of fear causes him to leave a crumbling legacy.
Don’t Be A Fearful Leader
I want to challenge you today. Put the brakes on fear, at least the negative fear.
Stop letting fear dictate your life. Fear will steer you in the direction you don’t want to go in the end.
So, what can you do to stop being a fearful leader? I believe there’s 3 things you can do to kick the negative fear to the curb.
1. Surround yourself with experience: You’ll never have all the information you will need. You cannot possibly experience every situation out there.
However, you can begin to surround yourself with people who have experienced situations you haven’t had the opportunity to experience yet.
Seek out wise men and women who have gone before you. Seek out mentors who have led organizations well. Seek out people with wisdom.
When you have wise people around you, you will have a cadre of people to guide you before you get into the situations that cause fear. You won’t have to scramble to get a team together to give you wise consul.
2. Experience failure: I harp a lot about failing and how failing isn’t bad. That’s because it’s the truth.
There’s another benefit to failing. You begin to realize failing isn’t fatal. Failure can actually be a catalyst to the next level of leadership.
Don’t hold back because you’re scared of failing. Step into the risk of failure.
If you fail, you fail and learn. If you succeed, you succeed and win.
3. Know where you’re going: The path of leadership isn’t always clear. Leaders typically head into areas that others have yet to go.
Even though you’re heading into the unknown, you can still have a good idea of where you’re going.
Lay out a plan. Get a sense of the direction you want to go. Head in that direction.
Don’t be willy-nilly about the end goal. Have a target in sight and go for it.
Fearful leaders will cause havoc in an organization. Fearful leaders will put their own desires in front of the organization. Fearful leaders will be swayed by the changing tides.
You have it in you to be better than a fearful leader. Get into the habit of breaking free of the fear and lead well my friends.