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Fear can actually be a retailer’s ally
Fear can actually be a retailer’s ally

Fear: It's a retailer's best friend

Fear can be a powerful motivator for leaders as it spurns activity and rationalises decision-making. PAUL KEIJZER details how retailers can utilise this tool for good.

Leaders are the trailblazing forces that drive their businesses to greatness. They are the rocks that keeps companies steady through turmoil.

They are risk takers and innovators, which is why there’s a common myth surrounding leadership that being fearful is a sign of weakness.

This myth encourages perceptions that one needs to be bold and fearless to be innovative and visionary; however, being fearful doesn’t necessarily make leaders weak or any less effective. Here’s why.

Fear isn’t the enemy

In the animated film The Croods, the family’s father Grug says, “Fear keeps us alive. Never not be afraid!” Being fearful doesn’t mean you’re avoiding risk. It just means you’re aware of the consequences and are cautious of how you approach challenges.

Fear can serve the purpose of making you mindful of what you’re about to get yourself into. By staying in your comfort zone, you’ll probably stay safe and never have to change a thing. You’ll also never push yourself to the limits and exploit your full potential.

That’s what fear can do to most of us; however, if you were to see fear as an ally, you’re more likely to step out of your comfort zone with much more resolve to make it all work because you’re fearful – you’ll take the risk because you fear threatening your business’s success. You’ll make that bold move because you know your company’s sustainability depends on it.

Be more collaborative
"As a leader, you should be fearful of one aspect over all others – complacency. This alone can hold your company down."

One positive that can arise from fear is self-doubt. It doesn’t sound like a positive at all but, if you’re fearful, you’ll doubt your moves and strategies and second-guess your decisions, opening the doors to the opinions of others around you.

Sure, you’ll be doubting yourself on the surface; however, you’ll also gain many meaningful insights from others, and these insights can lead to two things – you could be wrong and the advice you receive will help you alter your course in the right direction; you could be right and the advice you receive will further validate your strategies. Thus, the collaboration that can spawn from your fearful state isn’t necessarily a bad one.

Accept reality

When you’re fearful of failure, you’re basically prepared for it – you’ve foreseen the worst possible outcome, accepted it as a possible reality and braced yourself for it. You could say you’re so prepared for a negative outcome that you’ve already planned mitigating steps to address any that might occur. Hence, by admitting your fears and looking them straight in the eye, you’re mentally preparing all possible ways you can protect yourself.

Accept failure and move on

Being a leader puts immense pressure on people to deliver and succeed; not only does your business rely on you but also so does the livelihood of your team. This can be overbearing and, while you feel that failure is never an option, it’s a reality that leaders have faced at some point in their careers. It’s inevitable and therefore important to realise that failing isn’t bad.

What failing provides is an opportunity to learn to cope with hardship. It also provides redemption, allowing you to bounce back stronger and more determined. Just make sure you’re not letting failures linger too long. Fail quickly and move on because being fearful of failure isn’t all that bad.

Turn that fear into strength

Often we are most fearful of our weaknesses. These are areas where we’ve never been great and feel there’s much opportunity to grow and improve. For example, you could fear that a competitor may challenge your business because your product lacks in some areas that theirs doesn’t. This leads to the fear that the competition is going to overtake your market share.

Now you could sit there and fear loss of business or you could see this as an opportunity for some much needed research and development of your product to really give your competitors a tough fight. Fuel your strengths from what you fear most.

In these highly competitive times, you could fear a lot of challenges and roadblocks that face your business. These fears are real but they shouldn’t be considered bad. In fact, as a leader, you should be fearful of one aspect over all others – complacency. This alone can hold your company down.

Fearing complacency will allow you to step out of your comfort zone and push the boundaries of your limitations to be even greater.

Paul Keijzer

Contributor • Engage Consulting

Paul Keijzer is CEO of Engage Consulting, which is focused on helping CEOs transform top teams, talent and organisations. Learn more: engageconsulting.biz

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Sunday, 05 July, 2020 08:08am
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