5 ways to overcome your leadership fears

Leaders face challenges and fears in many ways
Being able to manage fears effectively is a valuable leadership skill that can make all the difference in a career

Though they rarely admit it, young leaders often suffer from high levels of stress. Yet they will carry it with them and sometimes it may even impact their behavior. If you are a young leader who wants to start leading more effectively and overcome challenges with less stress, it’s crucial that you acknowledge those fears which hold back or even hinder your progress. Start dealing with them in a new way by putting those fears aside.


It’s well recognized that young leaders are in high demand since they will shape the future of the country. Misk’s 10x Saudi Leaders program, underpinned by the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, provides all the support leaders need to develop their skills, mindsets and leadership behaviors to become visionary leaders. The program has been developed with a consortium of global partners and takes into consideration Saudi Arabia's uniqueness and context to create an exceptional generation of aspiring Saudi leaders who will be able to lead organizations with ambition and openness to innovative ideas to deliver against challenging goals.


Common fears facing young leaders

Most fears begin when a leader imagines the situation in which he or she makes a mistake or disappoints his superiors and loses the trust of others. Some of these fears can be summarized in the following self-asked questions:


1- Am I good enough? 

You start doubting yourself, your ability, and knowledge, and question whether you have what it takes to do the job. You wonder if you are able to overcome the challenges you face and if people will really follow your instructions.


2- Am I performing up to expectations?

You start worrying and second guessing the work you’re doing, and question if you are meeting expectations, targets, and numbers needed from you.


3- What happens if I fail?

You’ll ask yourself, what will I do if I mess this up? Will they ever give me a second chance? You sit at your desk and start worrying while you are there and panic each time you get an email that confuses you. You have this feeling, even if it's just small, that everything is over.


Do you want to make a difference in the way you lead?

Leading others is considered a big leap forward in a career and many who want to take on this privilege usually get the reward of a promotion acknowledging their abilities and efforts. However, if you let those fears take over you, chances are that you won't be able to manage your team effectively. That will also make it very likely for some bad decisions to be made. While it is normal to think about these fears they can be disruptive to your work. Therefore, being able to manage these thoughts effectively is a valuable leadership skill to have and is something that can help make a difference in the level of your achievements.


5 ways to overcome your leadership fears


1- Identify your strengths and weaknesses

The first step to overcoming your fears is to recognize and understand your strengths and weaknesses, by doing so you can focus on addressing your shortcomings while developing even other traits that will shine through.


2- Be decisive

Being decisive is a key component in becoming an effective leader. What is also important is that these decisions are made at the right time, so do not let hesitation affect your ability to make decisions when faced with challenging issues. Being indecisive is as bad as not making a decision at all, and could potentially make things worse. Practicing making decisions is a key way that leaders can work on developing the essential skills they need and learn from their mistakes while they're still young. Leaders should remember to consider all their options before deciding on anything, though.


3- Focus on goals

As a leader, it's your responsibility to set achievable goals and carry out all tasks to achieve your goals to completion using the high standards you expect of yourself. Zoning in on a specific goal focuses your efforts on achieving what you have set out to do. Once you have accomplished this, you will grow in confidence and will be able to handle your leadership fears. Whatever the goal is, don't try to tackle it all at once - break it up into manageable parts, and as each one is achieved, you'll feel more confident.


4- Reinforce your team coordination

As a leader, you need to continuously build and strengthen team cooperation. You should do this by empowering your team and being open to feedback from employees. Great leaders are also able to achieve a lot through their teams and multiply their impact as a result. So be confident about building  good relationships with your team to enable you to get the most out of them. In turn, this will boost trust and eliminate any leadership fears and subsequently overcome challenges that come with teamwork.


5- Remember, confidence takes time 

Working with other leaders in your community or from around the world can help further boost your self-confidence and enhance your leadership skills. Moreover, start to exchange learnings and experiences with others to help you develop and shape your own success story.


Fear is a natural human emotion and everyone experiences it from time to time. However, you can't let your fear hinder your ability to lead effectively. Continuously keep your focus and be open to new ideas with your team, while embracing existing ones. It's never too late to start and you can always work on developing leadership skills at any stage.

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