What role does fear play in how you lead?

With eager anticipation I cracked open the newest book from Gallup Press: Breaking the Fear Barrier, by Tom Reiger.  Generally, I’m a fan of the insights produced by the researchers at Gallup.  The tagline: “How fear destroys companies from the inside out and what to do about it” was very promising, and I dove right in!

Sadly, I was only mildly impressed with Reiger’s work.  Gallup has a powerful marketing engine that will surely put this book on the Best Seller list overnight — but I found it to be more ‘heady’ than compelling…just one step above ‘yawner.’

I’m really disappointed because anyone who makes a living as an Executive Coach dives into the arena of ‘fear’ often.  Just like the frayed rope that’s losing it’s strength, many leaders let fears degrade their ability to hold people together.

This book jumped off that shelf and into my briefcase, because I was looking for deep insight about why and how fear causes powerful people to act out in mysterious ways.  I am continually looking for a razor sharp, compelling book to help some of my clients whose fears may become de-railing to their careers that were once on the fast track.

The book Tim Schmidt and I co-authored: What Really Works, introduces the idea that “blending the Seven Fs:” faith, family, finances, fitness, friends, fun and future, can help leaders create personal and professional harmony – and live and work with less fear.  We’ve even promised to tackle the subject of “fear” in a future book.

Posted in Leadership

2 Comments

  1. Jonathan Distad on September 8, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Any entrepreneur has a part-fear to them – they may not see it as fear.  They may see it as wisdom, experience, gut-instinct and so on but it is innate in each of us.  I mean, most of us are driven by the fear/opportunity component.  Fear is risk and failure.  But all of that is good.  If I ever meet someone or interviewed someone who isn’t afraid of something it is a red flag – in fact its an interview question.   

    I don’t think fear has cause me to do stupid things but I am driven in part by fear so I have certainly made mistakes – but nothing has been stupid.  Ask someone who has cancer about fear – you get some interesting insights.  Fear helps you rationalize, better prioritize and usually think a bit more clearly.  Fear and failure are two things that should happen often in my book and I routinely tell my college students that.  And not to be afraid of either but figure how to live and thrive because that is the signal of a strong leader.   Because in career or cancer, you will come across it and you better be friends with it.



  2. Jonathan Distad on September 7, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Any entrepreneur has a part-fear to them – they may not see it as fear.  They may see it as wisdom, experience, gut-instinct and so on but it is innate in each of us.  I mean, most of us are driven by the fear/opportunity component.  Fear is risk and failure.  But all of that is good.  If I ever meet someone or interviewed someone who isn’t afraid of something it is a red flag – in fact its an interview question.   

    I don’t think fear has cause me to do stupid things but I am driven in part by fear so I have certainly made mistakes – but nothing has been stupid.  Ask someone who has cancer about fear – you get some interesting insights.  Fear helps you rationalize, better prioritize and usually think a bit more clearly.  Fear and failure are two things that should happen often in my book and I routinely tell my college students that.  And not to be afraid of either but figure how to live and thrive because that is the signal of a strong leader.   Because in career or cancer, you will come across it and you better be friends with it.