Monday, September 29, 2014

Digital Mindset Tuning: A “Fearless” Mind

Fear is the human nature, overcome it if it drags you down to the negativity and diminish your leadership influence, and dig it through if 'only the paranoid survives' in such a complex and ambiguous world.

Fear is an emotion induced by a threat perceived by living entities, which causes a change in brain and organ function and ultimately a change in behavior. (Wikipedia) This is a subtle point about mindsets and their impact on one’s thinking and reacting. Accepting does not mean that you like it or despise it.  From a leadership perspective, a courageous leader fears less and drive human progress relentlessly; from a management perspective, building a “fearless” working environment means to inspire openness, innovation, and critical thinking, and empower talent to unleash their potentials with less fear. And at the digital age, a “fearless” mind has more bold in perspectives:

 Natural leaders don’t feel fear to be different; to lead in a digital way means to be more transparent and holistic, there is a need to do away with the fear of being different. The fear of being noticed, of being laughed at or rejected prevents many to step out and lead the way into the unknown. Nature leaders just express themselves in the way they perceive the world, situations, people, projects, work etc., but the way that they communicate with others around them could scare their managers. Sometimes, natural leaders without that role intimidate others inside the organizations, and here is where we can find a good challenge to work on the companies’ development, relationships, achieves and more. It involves us being able to rise above our differences to reach a level of cognizance and each individual has the option of giving in to fear or facing it and learning what the implications are. 

The fearless digital leaders build around a foundation of character not charisma; or rewards without real value; the failure in not being what you are in the end means you are at risk to all. This is because going against tradition by trying something different that might not work makes you vulnerable. By stepping out, the fear falling off trying that the unexpected might happen and getting hurt by being exposed in the process is a function of your Ego. These are action steps you will have to take in your mind first. 1). A leader must believe in his/her vision.  2) A leader must feel the passion for the thing is doing. 3). A leader must know the ways to get it, like master the actions. 4) A leader must hear others, especially the team. 5) A leader must walk the talk. 

A culture of fear and mistrust drains energy and thwarts creativity. There is fear, there is no trust. This is true within an organization, a community, and one’s own personal life. The feeling of fear is a power unto itself. Fear can paralyze an individual to do nothing and/or become manipulated/a prisoner to the power of fear. Fear will drive you away from your personal goals, your ambitions, your standards, and norms. Likewise, fear can paralyze a company to maintaining status quo refusing to adapt to change. It turns to become such counter- productive behavior when the contribution of others offers the potential to add so much value. Hence, the good alignment of integrated leadership and change management can help stretching one’s comfort zones beyond status quo, improve the culture of openness and overcome the negative 'fear' syndrome. 

Sow the positive digital seeds. To be an authentic leader by leading a connected and influential digital way, you need to shape the fearless mindset to continuously spray the seeds of mutual trust on the soil of the environment in which you and your followers breathe in. These seeds are INTEGRITY (truth and transparency), RESPECT (esteem for other’s worth and capabilities), EMPATHY (see things through others’ lens) and GRATITUDE (appreciation for the good action of others). If your followers see you doing this all the time and without any fanfare, the mutual trust will skyrocket and they will perceive you as a true and exemplary leader.

Confident Managers/Leaders shouldn’t feel fear to have other leaders inside their teams; they must work with them to improve their area and it could be an easy way to enhance productivity, improve the process and help others to keep going. It goes without saying that fear affects not only the individual’s ability to take responsibilities but his/her productivity, creativity, happiness and it might have a negative impact on his/her professional growth as well. It takes a level of consciousness to recognize fear and control is driven by insecurity. You can't change others, their insecurities, their fear, but you can change your own response.

It will be naïve to conclude that fear is bad in totality! As a human being or a human entity (organization), we are and will always be subjected to various emotions (positive and negative), Feelings (soothing or irritating), and actions (right or wrong). The problem comes when we label them good or bad in totality and create a fixed mindset to react to that label. Our label of totally bad paralyzes us, and make us defensive and our level of totally good causes euphoria in us and makes us over-confident. In either case, our overall curiosity and creativity get limited and we don’t achieve up to our full potential. 

Fear is the human nature, overcome it if it drags you down to the negativity, and dig it through if only the paranoid survives in such a complex and ambiguous world.


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