It's October and the month usually associated with scary things because of Halloween. It's curious how some cultures actually like being terrified...but I don't think being afraid is something that we should embrace. Unfortunately, some people are afraid to be a leader, though by choice or selection, that is exactly what they are.
Let's take a look at some reasons why people fear leadership and what can be done to turn the lights on those fears and kick the "boogie man" out of the office!
1. What if I fail? This a common fear among people whether they are in leadership or not. No one likes to fail and leaders are (or should) be the one ultimately responsible for the success of a project or program. But, we don't always get it right the first, second, third time or more that we try something. There are many factors that attribute to the success or failure of an endeavor. The greatest of champions did not always win every match, but we remember them for the victories that far outweighed their defeats! So, do the best you can, be proactive and look for obstacles to success to overcome them. If you make a misstep, learn from it and move forward toward victory on the next go around.
2. I don't like to tell people what to do. Some people think that if they give people orders and hold them accountable for their work that they will not be liked...and we all want to be liked. However, no team can function properly without direction. It's chaotic and frustrating for everyone. As a leader you owe it to your team to give them clear and concise instruction and direction on what needs to be done. Keeping them accountable is simply part of the job for program success. Keep in mind that you don't have to be mean or even micro manage if that is not your style. It's not necessary to bark the orders to get them done. Be kind, respectful and grateful, but also be firm and consistent so that your team knows you have expectations of them to fulfill your requests.
3. I am not expert in all of the aspects of our product, service or program. It's okay. Many successful leaders say that they are not expert in everything or have all the answers, but they surround themselves with competent experts who advise them. That takes a great weight off of any leader's shoulders. You should not be expected to be a know-it-all on everything. It should be sufficient for you to have the skills to lead your team so that they can provide the best answers and expertise to the team. So relax! You don't have to be a one person show!
I hope this helps to remove, or at least abate, your fears about leadership. If you've been tapped for such a position, someone had confidence in your abilities to lead and perhaps this article has boosted that confidence in yourself!
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Cynthia Murray is the founder and CEO of Cynthia Murray Enterprises, LLC. She is an international speaker, author, consultant/coach and attorney.