Taking risks is a permanent aspect of a manager’s life. Very often, leadership is under attack when big decisions must be taken or new measures must be applied within the team. How do experienced managers use recent events to be success influencers?

How does fear paralyze?

The desire to be exemplary or the pressure to be perfect are factors that can cause the same feeling : fear. On the worldwide economic market, fear is either an insurmountable obstacle, or a tool to surpass ourselves and win over economic adversity.

A very clear example of how fear can dominate over one’s capacities is the Paris Saint Germain football team during their match against the Barcelona team in this year’s Champions League tournament. Paris Saint Germain won the first of their two games with an amazing score: 4-0. No need to explain that after such a score, a team feels very strong, invincible, unbeatable. They are acclaimed, cheered, revered. But what about the second game, a few days later? It’s at this moment that they forgot about their own strength and left room for doubt. The famous : what if…

“Experience builds courage, Influencers make it contagious”

…What if after all, losing the match is a possibility? Put yourself in the coach’s shoes, Unay Emery. Would you have thought something like : “Lose? No way!…We’d have to lose 5 goals without scoring one ourselves….Barcelona is a strong team, but no one has ever come back from so far behind in all of the Champion’s League history…Still, let’s be cautious, it’ll be more difficult than we think! After all, we might lose or at best have a draw, but as far as losing by 5 goals…”

“Courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it” – Nelson Mandela

According to Nelson Mandela, “Courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it”. Most likely, with such a a strong spirit the PSG Football team would have won…

Wasn’t the coach’s, captain’s and director’s board’s role to move forward with a positive spirit, to lead with confidence, to inspire the players to victory? Sadly, the spirit before the game was completely different. Here is what Thomas Meunier explained after the PSG’s defeat: “Everyone kept telling us to be very cautious, but we came into the game with a 4 goal lead! So I guess that subconsciously, it weighted on our minds (…) Everyone: the press, the coach, the team’s staff, even between us the players and those who used to play for Barcelona. I mean everyone…we told each other, “guys, it’s not gonna be an easy game.” I think it really made us doubt.”

Peer pressure, negative comments, lack of a courageous leader, the is the perfect recipe for absolute failure.

In a market where leadership is a key element for a company’s success, there is more than ever before, a need for managers that lead teams. As we’re all humans, fear is part of our career. The real question is how to overcome it and make it a strength. Often, all the keys are in the hands of the Board of Directors. Their experience helps them to hold down the helm during the storm, and honestly analyze themselves and the company even in prosperous times.

They know how to transform the most stressful situations into a strength, by instilling strong unity with the field teams and by establishing human values in the workplace. This way, the manager doesn’t bend under pressure, but uses each challenge as a training opportunity to lead his associates to victory.

Fear is natural and is an obstacle only if we view it as such. It is our responsibility to make it a strength!