The seven deadly leadership sins are all based on fear. For example, arrogance and pride is a direct result of a fear of inadequacy and a lack of legitimacy. It is compensating at its best. Greed stems from insecurities which are all fear based.

We are ruled by our fears until we learn to overcome them, and in so doing we become a truly authentic version of ourselves. Until we do so, we undermine our own leadership ability.

To overcome each of these fears, and become a totally authentic leader is no mean feat. It requires a deep seated and unshakable sense of self-confidence and an ironclad sense of purpose. An individual who is prepared to stare fear in the face and consciously work at understanding and overcoming their own limitations.

Fearlessly authentic leaders are not afraid to admit when they are wrong, and see failure as an essential component of success. They acknowledge their shortcomings, and seek to surround themselves with people who excel at those very shortcomings. They easily empower others and create a platform where others can perform at their best without feeling threatened.

They listen, and welcome their ideas being challenged. Fearlessly authentic leaders do not shy away from criticism, and intuitively understand which criticisms to discard and which to explore without taking the feedback personally.

True leadership means making others feel important, heard, understood. It’s relating to others on every level. It demands emotional maturity, compassion, and the ability to connect. That requires authenticity. It’s an attractive trait in anyone, but when it comes from a person in a position of power, it sparks a remarkable and powerful reaction.

Facing terminal cancer forced me to confront my fears…all of them. It forced me to become the most authentic version of myself possible. There is no point to a façade, portraying anything but the most vulnerable and real self. It meant connecting with my greatest sense of purpose and identity.

Facing death meant that all other fears became insignificant.

The ensuing decluttering of peripheral values and unimportant agendas was liberating to say the least. But perhaps the greatest gift was the resulting sense of self confidence in who I am, and what I represent in myself. It might not have been an easy journey, but it was an empowering one.

We need not suffer a terminal prognosis to confront our fears and discover how to become fearlessly authentic. I learnt many powerful and important lessons in my fight to overcome brain cancer twice. Lessons I share in my keynotes and masterclasses, along with the tools to implement change.

Each of us owe it to ourselves to become the very best version of ourselves.

Written by Richard Wright.

Contact USB on +27 (0) 11 074 9800 to book Richard at your next conference or event.

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