Friday, February 8, 2013

Five ways of Overcoming the Fear of becoming a Leader

So I’m a LEADER…NOW what.

To be come a leader. You must follow first
Ever felt that way? You’re in a position of authority and you’re not sure you know what to do or what you’re supposed to know. Am I supposed to know everything about this new position? Am I supposed to know everything about what everyone else does? Who do I go to if I have questions? Am I supposed to have all the answers and give orders? What if someone has a question and I can’t answer it? What will people think if they have a problem and I don’t know how to solve it? What will they think about me? What will my superiors think? Am I really qualified for this position? That’s the real question you might ask yourself over and over in your head.

No leader has all the answers. Every leader has to depend on someone to be successful in his new position. In the real world, you may receive a promotion into a position where you have NO clue about the business in which you find yourself a leader. I’m sure you’ve heard of former military officers who now work in financial services with no financial services background. Or, a former politician who is now in a leadership position in a non-profit organization. In these situations, you were hired for your leadership ability and influence and not the knowledge of the particular job.

In many cases in the business world, entering into a leadership position can sometimes be like serving your own death sentence. The department in which you now find yourself a leader either likes the person that last worked your position or the person they really wanted to get the position didn’t. Now you find yourself in a position where you might not receive support or cooperation from the people who work for you or the people you work for.

As a leader in new position, fear and doubt can be a real road block to success. Although fear of the unknown is natural, you must come to terms with your fear and deal with it. But how? Your career and reputation is on the line. Here are some ways other leaders have dealt with their fears:

  • Deal with the fear. We’ve grown in a culture or have read things that tell us that we must “stay positive” or use positive affirmations to deal with how you REALLY feel. Many times just “speaking positive” doesn’t always work. It’s ok to admit that you’re afraid and deal with your real feelings.
  • Confide in a close friend or relative. Talking to someone about your fears can help in many cases. It’s good to talk to someone who has been in your situation and knows how you feel. They can give you advice on how to deal with your feelings and be a source of support. It’s ok to be afraid. Just don’t let fear and doubt hinder ability to perform.

  • Think about the reason for your fear or doubt. Many times our fears and doubts are unfounded. There are no real reasons for them. But many times our fears and doubts come from the fear of the unknown. You might have been a leader in your previous position for five or 10 years. Now you’re embarking on a new career path or working in a different department . Now you’re being asked to do something totally different than what you did in your previous position. Remember, if the person or group who hired you must have seen something in you that you can do the job!

  • Take your mind off of the situation. Sometimes focusing on other things can help ease your fear. By focusing on our fear, we make our fear of a situation larger than what it is. Try to find some to relax and meditate. Try reading or listening to music. Many times you will receive ideas on how you will take on your new challenge.

  • Remember that you’re not alone. No leader does it all him or herself. Don’t feel afraid to consult the people who will be working for you. They’re the ones doing the everyday tasks that make the company or office work. They will more than likely give you the answers you need. Also, get to know fellow managers and leaders. They will certainly know who you need to contact for certain things you may need. And last but certainly not the least, get acquainted with the upper level staff. They have the resources and the connections you will need to enable you to accomplish your goals and tasks. Hope this blog helps you leaders in training, manager trainees and future leaders. I would like your opinion and feedback on this blog. Comment on the post or contact me via email: I can be reached on social media.

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