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Hi. Welcome to Jack Chat and another tiny lesson in leadership, straight up.In this episode, I’m going to talk about something scary. And I mean that quite literally. I want to talk about the impact of FEAR on leading others.

Perhaps the most famous quote about fear came from Franklin Roosevelt: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  Now, that might be a great slogan when you’re panicked nation at war, it’s not particularly true or helpful. 

Why not? Because fear is a normal reaction and it’s actually caused by brain circuitry that happens automatically when you are confronted with a threat.

Thanks to my colleagues here at Slingshot25, I am able to demonstrate this in action…

Are you shooting something? 

No, I’m watching Instagram. 

Not funny!

So, you can see that a physical threat causes an automatic fear reaction. But did you know a similar fear reaction can be caused a SOCIAL threat? 

So, what is a social threat? A social threat is any situation that could cause embarrassment
or rejection, or loss of status, or an encounter with a person who disagrees with you strongly.

This got me thinking about the fear leaders experience when they have to deliver an unwelcome message – anything from negative feedback to laying someone off.

The fear is normal. But it’s what you do with the fear that matters. Where do you put it? Here are three things that can help:

Don’t pretend you’re not feeling fear so you can appear strong. Fear is not a weakness, it’s an automatic response. It’s just your brain’s way of telling you it’s working normally.

Don’t get stuck on that fear, instead deliberately shift your thoughts to the other person that’s on the other end of the unwelcome message.  

Show empathy and compassion. Wonder, what is this person thinking and feeling? This does not mean sugar-coating or back-pedaling. Be clear but kind.

And here are a few self-reflection questions to help you lead even when it’s scary:

-What is the real source of my fear in this situation?

-What might the other person be thinking and feeling?

-How can I access feelings of gratitude and generosity at this moment?

Give those questions some thought in your next scary moment, and join me again for another chat.

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