Leadership Fear: Failure

I fear failure; therefore, I need to succeed.

When leaders operate from a fear of failure, they are often reluctant to act. They may procrastinate in making decisions and miss opportunities. It impedes their sense of adventure and playfulness, as well as their ability to take the risks necessary for innovation and growth.

A fear of failure can manifest itself as a need to have every piece of available information before making a decision. Leaders who fear failure can become imaginatively stuck and in the constant mode of finding answers, rather than reframing questions. Their thinking can become polarized into black-and-white or all-or-nothing approaches that limit creativity and risk-taking.

For the next week, stop twice each day — once at midday and once at end of day — and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What did I not attempt today because I was afraid I would fail?
  • How did I rationalize not trying?
  • What was the worst outcome that could have come out of my trying?
  • What did not move forward because I did not try?

What did I learn about myself and my leadership from this experience?



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