FEARLESS LEADERSHIP IN UNCERTAIN TIMES
When times appear fearful, as is our current experience, then YOU as a leader have to be fearless. This is your time to show your strength and TO display your corporate values.
Another word for fearless is brave. And when fear raises its ominous head the most powerful way to manage that emotion is to be FEARLESS.
It is our perception of a situation that arouses emotions within us. Fear is a response to a signal from our environment. It stimulates the fight, flight or freeze reaction. The hormone that is activated at this time is norepinephrine – a hormone that stimulates response to danger. The challenge with fear is that it is a survival emotion. We are not meant to be living in a continuous state of survival and that has dire consequences as it leads to stress and disease. Fear generates cortisol – a hormone that is only meant to be experienced short term. The current crisis we are in has placed millions of people in a state of fear and survival. Can this be good for any of us? Obviously not!
Think about the impact that fear is having on business activity and decision-making. It’s huge to say the least. Business owners and leaders are caught-up right now in having to make decisions and at the core of those decisions is the emotion of fear. The best way to manage fear as a leader is to be FEARLESS.
I’m not sure what picture comes to mind when I refer to Fearless leadership. Maybe you picturing Mel Gibson in Braveheart? Ideally, I’d like you to envision yourself fearlessly moving ahead with your team to fight for a better future for you company, your employees and your customers.
Fearless is the opposite of fearful. When we are fearful we are afraid of possible future outcomes, we second-guess ourselves and battle to make any firm decisions. Fearful leaders broadcast a negative energy around themselves – their anxiety is easily sensed and they tend to make team members anxious. These types of leaders apply punishment to maintain order. Team members are afraid to put a foot out of line and fearful of making any mistakes and consequently tend to withdraw into themselves, this in turn impacts upon innovation, creativity and collaboration.
Company values are not displayed purely because the leader does not display them. This then creates a culture and climate within your organisation that leads to disengagement and the follow-on from that is a huge negative impact on any customer-centricity strategy the company may have envisioned.
On the other-hand, fearless leadership, when executed authentically makes team members feel secure, safe and supported. This is fundamental if you wish to create a high-performance culture and to navigate your team through a crisis period.
How then should you display fearless leadership? Here are three characteristics of displayed fearless leadership:
- First characteristic is of Fearless Leaders is that they are not afraid to show vulnerability. Embrace your failures, admit to mistakes and face your imperfections head on. When you are authentic as a leader, people will naturally find you to be honest and trustworthy.
- The second characteristic of Fearless Leaders is that they live their company values. They walk their talk. The purpose of values in any company is to create a powerful and sustainable culture. This is the time to not just talk about values but to live them, communicate them and recognise team members who display them.
- The third characteristic of Fearless Leaders is that they have a Growth Mindset. This is a mindset that embraces change. Understanding that failure is part of eventual success. It’s a can-do attitude that is reflected in your all your levels of conduct. A Growth Mindset is displayed when you allow for open feedback from team members and accepting all feedback as constructive. Leaders who display a Growth Mindset embrace difficult times with a high degree of positivism and optimism and this attitude becomes more contagious than any virus.
Fearless leaders are inadvertently inspirational leaders and they help people to foster within themselves the courage, hope and determination to overcome personal and professional challenges. Difficult times come and they go. The current time we find ourselves is an opportunity for you to shine as a leader. Be Fearless.