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Take Charge of Your Fears

By: John Baldoni

Fear is endemic to an organization facing hard times.

However, managers should not show the fears they feel to their team. It sends the wrong signal and can cause employees to lose faith. How leaders deal with fear is important.

Try these tactics to help you control your fears:

Be realistic. High achievers fear something more than business failure; they fear they will not perform up to expectations. It is critical to address that possibility. One way is to game I outin your mind. Play the “what happens if” scenario for each action step. If this happens, then what?

Or if that happens, what do I do? Rolling out the scenario in your mind may give you the comfort of knowing the consequences. So often the unknown is more fearful than the known. “Fear,” goes the German proverb, “makes the wolf bigger than he is.”

Confide in a friend. Talk it out with a friend, preferably not a subordinate. You can role-play the scenario with her as a means of gaining perspective. Invite your colleague to ask you questions. So often the simple act of speaking out loud is helpful. Verbalizing the situation forces an individual to frame the situation in ways that can lead to greater clarity.

Look for inspiration. Find an outlet to release your fear. Exercise is always good; keeping yourself fit is healthy. Some find hope in their faith; others find it in doing something completely different, perhaps coaching a team, volunteering at a shelter, or organizing a food drive. These things can be fulfilling because they get you outside of yourself in helping others.

Lighten up. Dwelling in fear is a zero-sum game. You must abandon that mindset. Make light of the situation. Find ways to take your mind off of it by exercising, going to a movie, visiting with friends, or simply taking a long walk.

Fear is reality when dealing with tough times, but how you manage it is the measure of effective leadership. Standing up to fear, acknowledging its presence, and resolving to move forward require determination and courage.

 Excerpted, with permission of the publisher, from The Leader’s Pocket Guide: 10 Indispensable Tools, Tips, and Techniques for Any Situation by John Baldoni. Copyright 2013, John Baldoni. Published by AMACOM. For more information, visit amacombooks.org

About the Author(s)

John Baldoni is the president of Baldoni Consulting LLC, a full-service executive coahing and leadership development firm. He is an internationally recognized leadership educator and executive coach and the author of numerous leadership books.