This month we’ve tackled a debilitating dysfunction “I’m afraid to make the changes in my career and life that I want to make.” But what if you are the boss? What can you do to help you and your team overcome fear and take action? Here’s a prescription for helping you to fight fear and get your team moving.
Mix these in equal parts and take daily:
One dose of PURPOSE
If you want to fight fear at work and inspire your team, you are going to need to look beyond the tactical “how” of the daily to-do’s and answer the “why” of your work – for both you and your team. Here are some good “why” questions you can be asking yourself and then answering for you and your team:
- Why do you do what you do?
- Why do your customers need you and your team today more than ever?
- If you all were laid off tomorrow, what would you want to be said about what you accomplished and how you worked? (a version of my “tombstone” question)
Clarifying purpose for you and your team can help you to not only rally around a common inspirational reason for acting (don’t we all need that today!), but it can also help you put your fears back in their rightful place – shoved back under the bed. And don’t forget, inspiration lies in the “why”, so once you have your answers, don’t be shy about sharing your answers with your team. I promise you that they are as hungry for meaning and direction as you are.
One dose of COURAGE
Courage is about taking action. Simple as that. I think we can also agree that courage is in very short supply today. As you mix in courage into your daily regimen, know that it is needed now more than ever. Here are two forms courage can take. You may choose to mix both or only select one – completely up to you:
1. Take action – Have you noticed that most for-profit organizations over the last few years have been growing their stockpiles of cash taller and taller, wider and wider, waiting for something to happen before they take action? Just waiting… for something. Are you waiting for something to happen before you take action? If so, what are you waiting for? Do you know? Why not “be the change you want to see in the world” (Mahatma Gandhi)? It could be your singular action that starts a ripple effect that ultimately impacts more people than you could possibly imagine.
2. Say “No” – sometimes courage isn’t about doing, it’s about refusing to “do” any longer. Is there something that you have been wanting to say “no” to at work? Perhaps it is an internal policy you don’t believe in or perhaps it’s the peer pressure at leadership team meetings to all be on the same page. Get the courage to say “No”. Your team will not only admire you for it, but they will follow you because of it.
One dose of FAITH
For many senior leaders, what holds them back from taking action is a fear that their actions or decisions will start a ripple effect that will ultimately result in the total destruction of the team and perhaps even the organization. Sounds pretty extreme when we read it, doesn’t it? But it’s a real fear. Trust me… I’ve heard it from countless clients. And if we do succumb to this fear, we begin to move away from faith and try to get “perfect” information. So what does this move away from faith look like? We have been seeing it in action in mass over the last few years. Organizations looking for merger and acquisition targets but never pulling the trigger (I’m sure you know some of those M&A folks and how incredibly frustrated they are). Organizations interviewing senior candidates, getting down to the final two candidates and then stopping the process cold because they just don’t have “enough” information to be “sure” that the one they pick will work out. We’ve all heard the saying “there is no such thing as perfect information.” Logic will take us to the edge, but it’s a leap of faith you need to take that final step. Have faith. Know that if your intentions are in the right place, if your heart is in the right place, whatever decisions you make will ultimately work out in the end.
There you have it – a prescription for overcoming fear at work and inspiring your team to take action. It won’t be easy, but what’s the alternative? Sitting and waiting. Watching others be brave, bold, courageous and inspirational while we sit on the sidelines, watching and refusing to claim our own power? We all can be heroes and heroines. The world needs more of ‘em. Your team needs more of ‘em. Your team needs you. The world needs you. Be that hero or heroine. I promise you won’t regret it. And as my mentor always says, “I promise you won’t die.”