What would be possible if your leaders felt they were able to express themselves fully? What could that mean for growth, for innovation, for engagement in your organisation?
When we talk about fear in leadership, so often it is with reference to the imposition of fear from above, often a domineering CEO using fear as a tool of control.
However, this white paper is not about how leaders use fear on others, but how fear holds leaders back from showing up to their full potential and helping your organisation thrive.
I have coached many talented senior managers and directors in large complex organisations cross-sector facing a new leadership challenge. Their line managers are wondering why they’re not stepping up – they want them to be more visible, more vocal and more confident. Why don’t they just get on with it?
This paper explores what’s going on and what can be done about it :
- Underlying fears are holding these individuals back from performing at their best – fear of being found out, fear of rejection, fear of failure. The increased challenge and exposure that comes with leadership means the strategies that helped them succeed as managers no longer work. Yet only a minority of leaders experiencing fear voice their concerns.
- When fear is at play, survival becomes paramount - pleasing the boss becomes more important than taking the lead. Not good news when CEOS are concerned that their emerging leaders lack the ability to think strategically and believe creativity is crucial for future leadership.
- 40% of employees feel stressed at work in an environment where constant work pressure, limited resource and regular restructurings are the norm. Research shows they’re afraid of losing their status, losing their job, and of unfair treatment at work.
- Yet our response to external stressors depends on what we’ve learned to be afraid of. Fear has shaped our survival strategies whether that’s people-pleasing or procrastination.
- We’re not hardwired and we can change, but it’s not easy to work through long-held behavioural patterns which have evolved to keep us “safe”
I’ll share a 3-step process which helps leaders to work through fear and maximise their leadership impact :