taking the fear out of leadership – a 3-step process

by | Oct 19, 2017 | Leadership

“Freedom from fear enables you to do so much more.” Director, Social Business

When we talk about fear in leadership, so often it is with reference to the imposition of fear from above, often a domineering CEO using fear as a tool of control.

However, what I’m concerned about is not how leaders use fear on others, but how fear holds leaders back from showing up to their full potential and helping their organisations thrive.

Which is why I’ve written a white paper which I’d love to share with you :
taking the fear out of leadership – a 3-step process

I have coached many talented senior managers and directors in large complex organisations cross-sector facing a new leadership challenge. Their line managers want them to be more visible, more vocal and more confident. Why don’t they just get on with it?

This white paper explores what’s going on and what can be done about it.

  • Underlying fears are holding these individuals back from performing at their best – fear of being found out, fear of rejection, fear of failure.The increased challenge and exposure that comes with leadership means the strategies that helped them succeed as managers no longer work. Yet only a minority of leaders experiencing fear voice their concerns.
  • When fear is at play, survival becomes paramount – pleasing the boss becomes more important than taking the lead. Not good news when CEOS are concerned that their emerging leaders lack the ability to think strategically and believe creativity is crucial for future leadership.
  • 40% of employees feel stressed at work in an environment where constant work pressure, limited resource and regular restructurings are the norm. Research shows they’re afraid of losing their status, losing their job, and of unfair treatment at work.
  • Yet our response to external stressors depends on what we’ve learned to be afraid of. Fear has shaped our survival strategies whether that’s people-pleasing or procrastination.
  • We’re not hardwired and we can change, but it’s not easy to work through long-held behavioural patterns which have evolved to keep us “safe”.

I share a 3-step process which helps leaders to work through fear and maximise their leadership impact.


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Alison Reid is an experienced executive coach who helps senior managers and directors lead with confidence and step-change their influence and impact. She works with them 1-1, empowering them to focus on what matters, communicate with impact and stay calm under pressure so they can lead themselves and others to great results. She's the author of Unleash Your Leadership : How to Worry Less and Achieve More. Download an extract or buy the book.

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