Let’s face it, most everyone has fears and they can easily get compounded in a group setting. In some circumstances, they can be like the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about. Don’t let that be your organization. Be proactive. Share your fears. Identify exactly what they are in a safe, no retribution setting. There’s always going to be uncertainty and just because you may be able to cope with that doesn’t mean others can.
Football is a game of coordinated teamwork among offense, defense, and special teams of eleven players each. Without coordination, the best groups of athletes will usually fail. Among groups of that size, fear and uncertainty can develop. With proper coaching, players will consider and practice for every circumstance. Planning, practice, and teamwork build their confidence. Your organization is no different except you don’t have to be the authoritarian as many football coaches might be.
Your task as a leader is to make uncertainty manageable just as the football coach might. As a group, brainstorm together and discuss what you feel certain of – no matter how long the list may be. From that basis, you can plan contingency actions you will take in advance. By examining what you already do know, your assets and personnel, and considering the options ahead of time, you will increase the opportunity for creativity and buy-in, thus raising the level of productivity and alleviating fears. While the football team may have to rely on the coaches, you can make everyone an assistant coach, give them a role understood by all, gain critical perspectives you may yourself not have considered, and hold people accountable..
Leading through fear and uncertainty can become an activity of collaboration, communication, and cooperation. Done in advance of emergency or crisis, you can make a far greater difference together in planning and preparation – and inspire confidence!