Give fear the finger!

We’ve slowly and reluctantly been getting ourselves back into the groove, perhaps with fresh goals and fresh enthusiasm.  However, let’s not forget about 2017, the year that many of you described as, “the most relentlessly intense, stressful, all-consuming year that stretched capacity and capability to the max.”  And nobody thinks 2018 is going to be any easier.

Certainly, our environment is becoming more challenging and expectations are rising however, we must not forget to look within. Throughout 2017, TACTICIAN saw some very clear themes, ever present, that were not so productive and constructive.

If we want to approach 2018 in better shape, there are a few issues we must address …and all with the one underlying cause.

In good achievement thinking, let’s start with this causal factor. While it’s been with us since ‘day dot’, this contemporary environment is exposing it and it’s having some nasty consequences. Have you noticed, the increasing prevalence of mental health initiatives in the workplace?

We’re talking about FEAR!

Or if fear doesn’t work for you, substitute it for anxiety, insecurity or doubt.

Fear is what holds us back from asking a question of someone more experienced in case you “say something stupid”, it stops us from pursuing opportunities that would make an impact because it’s “out of our league”. It’s also the thing that stops us from actually getting anything done as we procrastinate over “what if I get it wrong” or “what if I upset so-and-so”.

It slows us down, stops us from acting and waters down our impact at work and in life. So, if you want to get anything done in 2018 – it’s time to give fear the finger!

So, if fear is the cause, what are the top 3 ways we seeing it play out:

1. Insecure cultures

Despite considerable efforts talking about culture and engagement, we still consistently see that security-based cultures are the norm. That is, cultures where people resist change, avoid conflict, rely on others to make decisions and seek approval for their actions. We say talking, because there has been a lack of real and committed strategies and actions to bridge the culture gap. We see a lot of acknowledgement of the issue, some concern, but we go back to doing what we did that created the insecurity in the first place.

If we want to give ourselves a pat on the back at the end of 2018 by doing things differently and better –  we all need to get over ourselves and our need to be perfect/right/admired <insert unrealistic and irrational desire> and learn how to acknowledge and manage our fears. Thus, shifting to a more achievement orientated behaviour and cultures.

2. Anxious communicators

We’ve worked with thousands of individuals, to upskill high stakes communicators to deliver persuasive presentations, keynotes, entrepreneurial and commercial pitching.  It is fair to say that 98.5% (anecdotal) of these professionals are inhibited by one factor – nerves, anxiety and fear. What are they most fearful about, well many can’t articulate it but those that have a stab, mostly fear the judgement but are then not sure which judgment they fear.

How you communicate is one the most critical skills to master if you seek success in the world today. With everyone running on the verge of a nervous breakdown, we must learn how to emotionally connect with people if we are to influence anyone to get anything done. If you’re not putting time and effort into mastering the art of communication, be prepared for more stress and disappointment as 2018 plays out.

3. Passive leadership

Whilst we find many leaders would never admit they are fearful in public, behind closed doors fear is very present and is limiting their effectiveness significantly. They feel insecure in their roles, imposter syndrome haunts them, they avoid dealing with conflict and allow their protected species to get the better of them. They fear building professional intimacy (the foundation for respect and trust and getting anything done) as it might be used against them and they fear challenging their boss (even their peers) as they don’t want to fall out of favour. Above all, they fear doing what they know is the right thing to do, for the right reasons, that will have a positive impact for themselves, their teams, their business and the culture. Go figure?

Contemporary leaders must find the courage to do the right thing, no matter how difficult. In spite of their fears. Those that allow their fears to get the better of them, will be left behind (or completely burnt out) and see their worst fears come to life. Starting with even one small challenge to our fears each day can have a profound impact on our wellbeing and effectiveness.

We are not suggesting that we can remove fear from the face of the earth, because we all know it is primal survival emotion that has helped us run away from sabre tooth tigers. Rather it’s an acknowledgement of our fears and the fact we’re all human, and a willingness to get over our own self-importance and start getting sh*t done!

So, if you can be honest with yourself, your team, your business and admit that fear is probably inhibiting performance in 2018, join us in taking it on. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen any sabre tooth tigers lately.

Acknowledge, embrace and push through!

If your organisation or team want to give fear the finger in 2018, contact us and do it with a sense of urgency.

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