14 October 2005

Leadership and fear

Ever since that dreadful day in september 2001, their has not been a day, that terror has not struck at the hearts of citizens all over the world.

More afraid
But most leaders will have been more afraid than most citizens. Because how can they make it clear to us that they have recognized our fears? How can they make their citizens see that they are doing everything to control the creators of our fears?
As I look at the situation, I see a problem. How can I diminish the fear of others through my behavior? Is it possible to influence others emotions by showing courage? I do not know. What I do know is that people seem to be less afraid, when others in their surroundings, to whom they look up, do not seem to be afraid. However this technique does not really work in the long run. Look at all the stress related illnesses. The first world war had its shell shock, the first Gulf war had is syndrome. It seems that showing courage is the way to help others suppress their fear. It does not seem to help them conquer their fear.
So maybe it is necessary for humans to experience their fear. And that the leader should only show that you do not have to be afraid of your fear.

Most afraid
So I would not be surprised if it became clear, that showing bravery, while not really being brave is the worst thing a leader can do. This behavior probably looks to most people more like bragging, than bravery. Although most people might not be able to put their finger on it, the probably feel something is wrong. And it is this subconscious information that is endangering the position of the leader.
This problem will not have a simple solution. Because the solution will differ for every person and every leader. But the first step will be to show that you are afraid but have faith in the outcome of the situation. So what is important is to show, that you know your own feelings and know how to deal with them.

Real courage seems to me, is not running for your fear. Real courage is becoming aware of your fear and having the will to give it a name. Once your are aware of your fear and ask yourself why you are afraid you can work on it. Because often we think we are afraid of the situation, but what we really are afraid of is what this situation will mean for the future of our position.
In that sense I can understand that a leader is afraid to show his fear, because that might compromise his position in a situation in which everybody is looking to him for guidance. In those situations it does not only take courage to become aware of your fear for the situation but also become aware of your fear of loosing your position.

No comments:

Post a Comment