We all make mistakes and we all fail at times. It is how you respond to your mistakes and failures that will go a long way towards determining your success as a leader. Fear-based leadership leads to a debilitating environment where trust is diminished, creativity and innovation are stifled and people become unwilling to speak up, take risks, or try new things. Ultimately, performance across the organisation will suffer if you do not eliminate fear from leadership.
Fear-filled leaders frequently withhold information in an effort to come across smarter or have more power than everyone else. The fearful leader also hoards control of resources and revenues, dispensing them sparingly to ensure that no one will have an opportunity to outperform them. Leaders who question their own abilities, hide behind their title and a false sense of bureaucratic power. These leaders have position authority but no relationship power with their followers. The intimidated leader will often withdraw and work alone, hoping that no one will figure out their shortcomings by flying under the radar.
Fear often produces comparison and competition with others, which ultimately divides and undermines teamwork. Do you say to yourself, “I’m not as good as, smart as, accomplished as, or rich as others around me?” If any of these statements sound familiar, you may be leading out of fear and it’s time to revise your position.
Do any of the above situations resonate with you? If so, assess your fear of the common factors below. Face your fears head on and actively replace them with confidence so that you and everyone on your team can be a successful contributor to the success of your organisation.
Is it in perfect performance, your position, or your possessions? All of these things are transient, and placing your sense of worth in them is a sure formula for disaster and failure in leadership. Great leaders find a sense of worth in their ability to continually learn (especially from mistakes), a dedication to their work, and the commitment to gather talented people around them to help them excel.
All successful leaders have experienced failure at some point. Wisdom is gained if we have the courage to learn from mistakes. Step up and own the mistake and let your team know what you’re going to do about it, starting today.
Change should be embraced as an opportunity. It’s important to adapt early on and help your team get on board with change. Set a vision and identify reasons for resistance. Work together with your team members to create solutions and help them focus on what they can do to help make the vision a reality. Keep the focus on what you will gain, not what you may have to give up with the change. Learn to love ambiguity! There is no crystal ball; gather all the information you can and be willing to make a timely start knowing you may have to make adaptations along the way. If you wait until you have 100% of the information you need, you will miss the opportunity. That is failure to change.
Don’t take yourself so seriously and learn to laugh at yourself. Make your goal excellence, not perfection. Develop the skills you need to be on top of your game and commit to not repeating the same mistake twice.