It’s a tough time to be running your own business. You must make smart business decisions if you hope to survive. A new book by speaker and author Mike Staver promises to show you how fear can limit your potential. Leadership Isn’t for Cowards examines the ways fear can obscure your way forward and interfere with courageous leadership.
Here are eight more signs you might be driven by fear:
9. You’re always blaming others. This way of dealing with difficulties is counterproductive. Playing the victim puts the situation outside your control. Consequently, you can avoid taking action that would change things. “Blame-based leadership seeks to find a bad guy…to absorb the problem, like a lightning rod absorbs a bolt of otherwise dangerous electricity,” explains Staver. “Courageous leaders are driven by, even obsessed with, the imperative to eliminate excuse-making and blame from themselves and their organizations.”
10. You increase pressure rather than remove the pinch points. Ever tried to drink from a hose that had a kink in it? Would you get better results by turning up the faucet or undoing the kink? Until you eliminate the kink—the pinch point—no amount of pressure will help quench your thirst. “Too many leaders…push employees harder or offer new programs, initiatives and incentives to try to push them into compliance. Imagine how much more effective it would be to summon up your courage and address the pinch points that need addressing,” says Staver.
11. You’re too hard. Do you recognize your employees for their achievements? Don’t withhold recognition until the final goal is attained. “Sometimes leaders fear that pouring on the recognition before the job is done will demotivate followers. Sometimes courage looks like trusting your employees; sometimes it looks like getting out of your comfort zone long enough to provide face-to-face recognition that people crave,” observes Staver.
12. You praise too much. Where too-hard leaders are stingy with praise, others encourage their followers so often that the acknowledgment loses its effectiveness. There’s gushing (praising with such force that it raises suspicions) or false recognition (praising that seems out of character). Both forms of over-praising can actually backfire. Staver explains that “maybe at the root of the behavior is a fear of the ‘confrontation’ involved in giving meaningful critical feedback.”
13. You reward effort instead of achievement. It’s possible to be too soft with your expectations. Encouragement is not enough to motivate everyone. Someone must drive achievement and that person is you. A brave leader will set down expected results and clearly state the consequences of those results not being met. Explains Staver, “I am in full support of a respectful workplace where people enjoy their jobs and look forward to coming to work, but I am also in full support of less whining and more doing, less passing the buck and more personal responsibility.”