There’s a common misconception that great leadership and fear cannot coexist. The truth of the matter is that fear comes along with great leadership. While creativity and passion are essential components of bringing an idea into the world, the same can be said for trepidation. It’s unrealistic to believe that fear won’t be joining us in our journey to greatness.
Perhaps the first realization we must come to is that fear is not inherently bad. In proper measures, it can provide some positives in our growth and development. Fear can help you avoid making some pretty bad mistakes. It can serve as a mobilizing and galvanizing force that can empower you to accomplish the seemingly impossible. To that end, we want to surround ourselves with people who are embracing scary things. Nothing grows in the comfort zone. When we do things that produce healthy levels of stress and anxiety, it means that we’re being stretched. By leaning into that fear, we’ll be able to look back and realize we’ve done some of our most meaningful work in those times. We’ve got to get comfortable with the uncomfortable, knowing that fear is part of the equation.
While fear can propel you, it can also paralyze you. Great leaders know how to battle and overcome it. Once we know fear is part of the deal, then we can begin to understand how to move beyond it. You have to surround yourself with a team and support system that understands that fear helps design processes. Your culture should consist of individuals that value the lessons taught in successes and failures. Ideas are about taking leaps. When you install a process, then you are helping to shrink those gaps in your leap. One of the ways we manage risk and fear is by implementing a process that increases the likelihood that we’ll make it from one stage to the next. And if not, we’re able to learn early enough in the process to get out and cut our losses before making a bet that’s too big.
As a final consideration, you should list and tally the reasons to do an idea and then count the reasons not to do it. If the reasons to do it are bigger or meaningful, then that will help you manage your fear since you’ll be charged by your purpose. In short, fear has a vital role in great leadership if we’re managing it properly.