More on Untangling Leadership Fears

Tue, Mar 10, 2009

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." Ambrose Redmon

It is easy to talk about courage when everything is going well. It is quite another to call up that state of being and sustain it when we are gripped by fear. Many years ago, I researched and taught courses on stress management. I used to joke that I was teaching what I most needed to learn. I have since discovered that managing ourselves is one of the hardest jobs in the world. It is a skill to remain calm under pressure and stay balanced when the unexpected strikes. Employees do not want to see their bosses rattled or lose their cool. They want a leader who is a calming influence.

So how do you summon a state of courage when you are quaking in your boots? How can you better roll with the punches, so that as leaders you can, as Dave Cooke writes in his blog, Pure Cooke, "...encourage and empower and motivate our teams to find ways to enhance and improve the business?" As Dave so aptly states: "While we are immediately and centrally focused on the revenues and cost side of the business spectrum right now, we cannot lose sight that the ideas or solutions that will save our business is probably not in cost savings. Rather, it will be found in your passionate, motivated, and innovative team working together to turn things around. "

I have found the following to be helpful both personally and in working with clients. First, check your thinking. Are your thoughts rational and logical? How real are the threats? What actions can you take to mitigate the risks? Secondly, you cannot come up with creative ideas when you are not breathing. Most of us take very shallow breaths. When I want to come down, I take in two long deep breaths through my nose, and breathe out in four long breaths. This has an automatic calming effect. And finally, connect with others. I am making a conscious effort to reach out to friends and colleagues who are upbeat. And I watch myself carefully to make sure that my words are creating a positive reality. According to social constructionists we create our reality through conversations with others. Right now, the national conversation taking place in the media is doom and gloom. I want to create a more empowering and positive reality, so I watch my words, and the feelings that they evoke in me and others. If I can uplift myself and others through conversations, even if for micro-moments, that creates a positive reality in that moment.

If you are struggling between fear and courage, contact for a free 10-minute consultation.

Please join in the conversation. Have ideas for being courageous in the face of fear?

Marcia Ruben Ph.D, PCC, CMC

Marcia Ruben Ph.D, PCC, CMC

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