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Think, Feel and Act Like a Leader

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Here are your latest articles, links, hints and tips on being a better leader.

Think Like a Leader

Robert Louis Stevenson said “Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.”  That is one serious leadership challenge!  No one wants a scared leader, one that looks like a rabbit stuck in the headlights. But an arrogant and over-confident one can be equally as repellent.  I am sure that in your leadership role there will have been many times where you could feel some fear creeping into your mind. Actually acknowledging our fears, especially to ourselves is essential – and it helps to have a close confidant or two as well. So, think about fear – including your own - as you read on.

Feel Like a Leader

Sadly, many leaders have been crippled or destroyed by fear. It starts small, then, as it feeds itself through the feelings it generates, it can overtake even those who at one time seemed confident and assured. Lemony Snicket said “There are two kinds of fears: rational and irrational - or in simpler terms, fears that make sense and fears that don't.” Managing your "fear feelings" is an essential step to successful and sustained leadership.

Act Like a Leader

So even leaders who ‘feel the fear’ need to push on – but the ‘how’ really matters. Getting the balance right, separating the rational from the irrational, and helping others acknowledge and manage theirs, is a hallmark of leadership that earns respect. Fear never really goes away – but its hold on you can lessen considerably – and you can help others make the same transition. And remember the words of Leigh Bardugo “Fear is a phoenix. You can watch it burn a thousand times and still it will return.”
Listen to ‘Fear in Leadership’ – Colin Hunter on the Gritty Leaders Podcast presented by Ian Windle and Ben Wales. They talk with Colin about fear in leadership. They ask ‘when and how is fear likely to show up when leading your people?' This episode explores taking the team into places they might fear to tread.  A long listen, giving the subject serious consideration.
Leaders Listen!
In this short article you can learn about ‘6 Fears That Even The Best Leaders Have To Overcome: Here's How’ 
  1. Fear of Repercussions
  2. Fear of Criticism
  3. Fear of Failure
  4. Fear of Responsibility
  5. Fear of Falling Short
  6. Fear of Communicating
Really good practical advice is available in the full article - relevant for leaders at every age and stage. Find it at the link below.
Leaders Read!
The TedX talks are a great source of thinking about key issues from a wide range of voices on a huge range of topics. Here, Katrina Chaffin gives a young woman’s perspective on fear in leadership.
Leaders Watch!

The Leader's View

Looking at this photograph of a warship on trials in the Firth of Clyde reminds us of the darker side of life – where fear constantly lurks. 

But look behind the warship – these are the established communities of the Cowal Peninsula, where for hundreds of years coastal communities have developed through times of great fear.

In 870 AD the Viking Chief, King Olaf brought his fleet up past here and laid siege to Dumbarton Rock – a reminder that life goes on through good times and bad.

Longer Read

Fear Your Strengths: What You Are Best at Could Be Your Biggest Problem is written by Robert E. Kaplan and Robert B. Kaiser and was published by Berrett-Koehler in 2013. 

The title says it all – while we may be fearful of endless ‘bogey men’, perhaps we need to be really careful of what we perceive as our own strengths. (Incidentally, the word bogey may derive from the Middle English word meaning a terror or scarecrow!) 

The authors’ research shows that overplaying strengths is a common leadership problem. The over-assured leader’s presence can intimidate and overwhelm, so no-one ever offers alternative ideas. That kind of leader can increasingly live in their own echo chamber. By learning to ‘temper and tune’ your abilities – and deliberately ensure you listen to others – you can learn to control your “mind-set” and behaviour.

The Big Lesson?  Beware of Yourself.


This Week's Blog

Learning Can be Fun – Really! #94

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...and finally

...without a little reflection, there is no Insight Added.
Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.
Francis Chan
Lead well
Graham and Lesley
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