“It’s not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It’s because we dare not venture that they are difficult.” – Seneca
Leaders come in all shapes and sizes, and with those shapes and sizes come every different kind of personality. Every one of them has a different way of approaching and solving problems, a different set of strengths, and a different set of unique challenges. No two leaders are alike.
That said, one of the consistent hang ups for leaders across the spectrum is the idea that they’re supposed to know what they’re doing. Certainly, we hope leaders of organizations have some clue what’s going on and some notion of how to handle the things they’re faced with. And in most situations they do.
But that idea that they’re supposed to know what they’re doing paralyzes too many leaders. Or, to put it another way, too many leaders are frozen because they’re afraid to fail. They don’t want people to see that they haven’t gotten it all figured out, or maybe their self-image is dependent on always having success and never failure, or maybe there’s some other psychological reason.
The point is, too many leaders are afraid to try something new because they’re afraid they’ll look like failures if it doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. I’ve seen that viewpoint cripple entire organizations as everyone waits around for a leader to do or decide something, and that doing or deciding never happens.
For those of you struggling with this, here’s a news flash: Nobody in your organization thinks you’re perfect. Everybody already knows you make mistakes and sometimes fail. In fact, your hesitance to try things because you might fail is probably viewed as failure by a large portion of those you’re trying to fool.
So just make a choice and go with it. You might fail. You might look like you don’t know what you’re doing. If so, then you pick yourself up and try again. The people you lead will have a much higher opinion of you if you take the plunge, fail, and then take it again then if you just stand on the side of the pool.
What challenge are you not dealing with? What decision are you not making? What initiative are you not taking on because you’re not sure it will work and you can’t face that outcome? Face it, and take the leap.