Leadership Fear: Rejection

I fear rejection; therefore, I need to be accepted.

Fear of rejection makes it difficult for leaders to take a stand and define themselves in situations where relationships feel endangered. Leaders who fear rejection seldom confront the poor performance of subordinates or challenge the thinking of others in a way that promotes lively discussion and debate.

These leaders tend to rely exclusively on a consensus decision-making style because they believe it is more important to be liked than respected. Fearing rejection, leaders often try to present themselves in a way that is palatable to everyone, except them. This leads to stress, burnout and lack of confidence.

The introverted leaders deal with the fear of rejection by pulling away from relationships and cutting themselves off from the very people with whom they desire connection.

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

  • In what situation did I feel rejected today?
  • How did I respond?
  • How could I have responded more effectively to stay connected?
  • What situation did I avoid today because I was afraid of rejection?
  • What was the result of my avoidance?
  • How could I have engaged that person?
  • What did I learn about myself and my leadership from this experience?


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