Why Leaders Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Learn About Themselves

June 9, 2022

looking at self in mirror

Overview: To become effective and intelligent leaders, today’s executives must learn to face their fears, charge boldly into the unknown, and show vulnerability. The intelligent leader connects with peers and employees on multiple levels to inspire and empower. Those afraid to learn about themselves can enlist the help of a qualified leadership coach. 

Leadership coaching holds a mirror to leaders. This helps them gain accurate pictures of their strengths and weaknesses. As mere humans, leaders don’t always like to learn about themselves, as they may discover they have been doing something wrong or worse.

Falling victim to such fears can hamstring a leader. Leaders fearful to learn about themselves find it more difficult to embark on the arduous journey of leadership coaching and improve their innermost leadership skills. 

Intelligent leaders recognize the need for continued improvement and know there is no growth without learning. 

Facing Your Fears

Growth is a painful process that requires leaders to leave their comfort zones and face their fears. What could a successful leader fear? 

Leadership is a high-pressure environment rife with potential pitfalls and opportunities to fail. 

  • The fear of being found out as an imposter. Leaders may feel they are never good enough and are always a question or revelation away from being billed as an imposter
  • The fear of being called out on decisions. Criticism is part and parcel of leadership. Even the most successful leaders face criticism regularly. Intelligent leaders know how to handle criticism, seeing it as the manifestation of a different perspective that perhaps they should consider. 
  • The fear of making decisions. Decisions carry a lot of weight in organizations. Cautious leaders deliberate and analyze before making difficult decisions. For some, these analyses result in paralysis as they weigh the many variables that might impact decisions.
  • The fear of being ineffective. Leaders are under constant pressure to perform and deliver results. Some may feel overwhelmed by the scope of the goals and become fearful of not being able to deliver. Redefining the goals may help as making progress tends to have a motivating effect on people.
  • The fear of failing to communicate. Some leaders find it challenging to express their thoughts verbally or in writing. The good news is that leadership coaching professionals can help leaders acquire and develop these skills. For some, improving their communication may be as simple as practicing writing and speaking. 

Getting Comfortable with Learning

It does not matter what leaders’ fears are as long as they learn to manage them. 

Leaders must embrace change and be agile in their approaches to various challenges. Their goals should be to grow organizations, teams, and individuals. Learning and facing their fears are part of this growth process. 

Leadership requires leaders to be trailblazers. Employees expect leaders to show them the way by exploring the unsafe and uncomfortable crannies of corporate life. Leaders must model how they cope with their fears and handle learning to their employees so they can find it easier to adopt similar behaviors. 

Learned leadership makes leaders commit to being vulnerable. Someone that’s always the first to explore the unknown must be ready to face setbacks and handle failures. The adage “failure is not an option” has no place in intelligent leadership. In executive coaching, failure is not only an option; it is a learning tool. 

Learning to Show Emotion 

The commitment to be vulnerable requires leaders to become comfortable with showing their emotions. Executive coaching specialists agree emotionality is a requirement for inspiring others. Without achieving emotional resonance, leaders will find it impossible to connect with their followers on a meaningful level.

Emotions are a direct gateway to peoples’ hearts. 

In the context of learned leadership, emotionality is far from being a spontaneous eruption. It is a carefully calculated and cultivated skill that helps leaders connect with their peers and followers. 

Emotionality involves a carefully calibrated intention, emotional language, and the use of emotional appeals.

Intelligent leadership requires leaders to connect with their peers and reports in meaningful ways. Those afraid to show vulnerability and embark on processes of getting to know themselves cannot achieve the levels of connection required to effectively inspire and empower people. 

To learn more about how you can join the IL Movement as a coach, or how you can benefit from bringing IL Solutions to your organization, contact us today

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