By Perminus Wainaina
When Daisy was approached to be a manager, she was shocked! This was something she never expected and was not sure she wanted to do.
What if the team didn’t like her? What if she couldn’t perform to the expected standards of her supervisor?
Daisy has always been a quiet, shy, and eager to please individual who has often lost pieces of herself, being and doing whatever it took to be liked. She has also always been comfortable staying in the background and not calling attention to herself.
The last thing she wanted was a leadership role. “It was just too risky for me,” she says.
“But, there was more to why I feared being a leader. Too many people in leadership roles – politicians, heads of major corporations, and others, are untrustworthy. In my mind, a leader was someone to be disliked, distrusted, feared, and rejected.
I know there are leaders who are admired and respected, who are wonderful role models. But I could only see the threatening side. There was no way I would willingly choose to expose myself to criticism and rejection.”
After we had a chat, she decided to take up the challenge and see where it led.
“Despite the challenges, I’m so very grateful for the experience. As with almost everything in life, we live through it. There is great learning that takes place.”
Could you be holding yourself back from taking up a management role in your organization?
You may have just been promoted and your supervisor calls you into their office and expressing concern that you may be overwhelmed. You have been encouraged to focus on the management side of your job and leave the technical aspect to your team.
Are you wondering how you could let your technical side take a back seat especially because the very reason you have been promoted is because of your technical skills?
Truth is, this could be the thing that is preventing you from doing things that really matter in your new role.
You have to make a choice. Do you embrace the new role with all the new challenges? Or do you revert to your old ways and return to a purely technical role?
Many fears can come into play when leading a team.
Here are the five main fears you may have as an upcoming leader, and how to overcome them.
As a leader, your shortcomings will be highlighted more than your strengths. The team you lead looks to you to make the right decisions.
As a leader criticism is something you should expect. So get used to it.
Face the fear head-on by regularly requesting anonymous feedback from your team. This can be done by using 360-degree reviews or surveys with specific questions about how effective you are in your role. Another way to do this is simply by asking, “How am I doing? What else could I do to be a more impactful leader for this team?”
Failing is hard – especially when all eyes are on you. Driven people hate failure more than anything in the world. But you do not become a successful leader without having experienced failure along the way. Unfortunately, this is how you gain wisdom.
When leading a team, failure can come in many forms. Making bad financial decisions. Bringing in the wrong people. Overpromising and under-delivering. Inconsistency. Not properly communicating the vision and what everyone’s role is in mission success. The list goes on and on. But failure is inevitable. When you make mistakes, own them and let the team know what you are going to do starting today to right the wrong. Be as prepared as you possibly can and make adjustments along the way.
3. Making Decisions
Decision-making is critical in leadership.
Poor decisions will be made, but the ability to learn how to make good decisions in highly chaotic environments can give you the tools necessary to take your company to the next level.
That said, sometimes you have to slow down and take your time. Even if it means missing a potentially good opportunity. Pushing forward too fast and making quick decisions will always lead to major obstacles. Obstacles that cost money. So be prepared, use the information at hand, and make the best possible decisions you can. When you miss the mark, adjust quickly.
The fear of public speaking is common.
As a leader within an organization, one of the things you should be doing the most is publically addressing your team. If you can’t do this with confidence then how can you expect your team to follow you?
Take every opportunity you can to speak in front of audiences. This could be during meetings, in client presentations, guest lecturing at local universities, or even taking up a public speaking course.
Practice makes perfect. The more you do it, the more confident you will be.
With much power comes much responsibility. You are not just responsible to clients and shareholders. Your first priority is to your team. If you put them first, all the rest will fall into place.
Being responsible for a person’s livelihood can be a stressful burden. As a leader, your role is to define the mission, provide resources, and remove obstacles. Embrace the fact that you have a team to lead. It’s a good problem to have. Remember that they can be your best resource for important information. Keep them in the loop and ask them to do the same for you. Working together as a team will lighten that burden of responsibility.
In the end,
Whatever your fear is, it is always best to face it head-on. You will quickly realize that you had nothing to be afraid of.
Perminus Wainaina is the C.E.O and Managing Partner at Corporate Staffing Services, a leading HR consultancy firm based in Westlands. Through career mentorship programs, he assists mid-level and senior professionals get solutions to complex and challenging career issues that they are facing.N.B: Would you like us to consider you for a job opening? Boost your job search. Upload Your CV Here. It's FREE