Leadership: Overcoming Fears

As leaders, especially new leaders, we have these overwhelming sense of responsibility; due to these feelings we begin to feel like we have no room for error or failure.   This is important to feel but remember that no one is without errors or failures despite how far they have come.  Those that fail more tend to be more successful.

Today I will address three questions that new leaders have:

  • “I have no idea what to do and I am afraid to ask my boss questions.”
  • “What if I make the wrong decision?” 
  • “What if I look like I don’t know anything?”
  • “I have no idea what to do and I am afraid to ask my boss questions.”  First, relax!  Yes, take a step back and remind yourself that you were chosen as a leader for a reason.  Yes, there were others in the running and you were chosen so, with that said, yes you know something.  The problem is not that you do not know what to do but you are afraid to do what you think you should do.   Take a walk, be with your thoughts, and review what you are afraid of.   After you reflect, talk with your supervisor and let them know that you are feeling lost.  Be clear on what you are needing, is it guidance, direction, or just a listening ear.   There will be times, when you really do not know what to do,  when this happens talk to your supervisor.  Be as frank as possible about how you are feeling and again be clear on what it is you need to keep the conversation going and in the direction you need it to go.
  • What if I make the wrong decision?” Well this will happen and if you want to be successful this will happen often.  It is ok. It is better to make the wrong decision sooner than later.  Let me give you an example, let’s say that you have a choice to buy X number of widgets vs Y number of widgets.  At the time, you believe buying Y number of widgets is better, but you are not sure so you wait a few weeks until you cannot wait anymore and you buy Y number of widgets.  Unfortunately, you waited so long that Y number of widgets is now twice the price and when they arrive they are the wrong widget.  So now you have wasted both time and money.  The biggest thing here is that time, you can’t get that back.  The money you can.  So make a decision sooner than later to be able to outweigh the risks.     If you are still unsure, staff it with a peer or your supervisor.  But remember, to get better at making decisions, you need to trust in your ability to make them.  
  • What if I look like I don’t know anything?” It is ok if you do not know everything. No one knows everything and someone that acts like they do probably knows the least about anything, lol.  So,  if you do not know how to do something, just let your supervisor know.  Again be clear on what you know in regards to guidance, training, or direction.  The more clear you are about what you need, the better that your supervisor can assist you.  

You were chosen as a leader for a reason, it was not a mistake.  So step into your greatness and be the leader you know you can be!

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