Overcoming 10 Common Leadership Fears


Audio # 9 - The Fear of Showing Weakness

Leadership Fear of Looking Weak

Do the best leaders have all the answer? Are they always the strongest?

The Fear of Showing Weakness occurs when you’ll do anything in your power not to look weak.

We don’t want to look weak in front of our family, team, banker, or suppliers.

Most leaders believe admitting weakness will destroy their leadership. Their nature is to prove they’re right. This is dangerous! If you’re not aware of this fear it will cause a breakdown in your leadership.

Even if you are powerfully built as a leader you need help to complete your mission. Asking for help can turn the Fear of Showing Weakness on its head.

False Strength Is a Leadership Limit

Have you ever experienced a time where you wished you were weak instead of strong? You hungered for someone else who could carry the load for a few minutes. You longed for a time you didn’t have to have all the answers.

Trying to be perfectly strong all the time is impossible. It’s false strength.

Leaders are supposed to look strong and powerful, right? Consider what true strength looks like.  Are you stronger if you deny your weakness, or if you admit them? The reality is no matter which answer you choose, you’re still weak.

If you find yourself with the Fear of Showing Weakness, here are the false messages you are sending your team:

  • You have all the answers.
  • You’re always right.
  • You will never make a mistake.
  • You’ll never get sick.
  • You’ll never make emotionally charged decisions.

You don’t need a team if all of the above are true for you. But, these characteristics aren’t honest or realistic. Your leadership will be limited by anyone of these mindsets.

Invulnerability is not a characteristic of true leadership. People can’t relate to invulnerability. The Fear of Showing Weakness is holding you back from success.

How To Turn The Fear of Showing Weakness On It’s Head

It’s a good thing we’re talking about this today, because we need to turn the Fear of Showing Weakness on its head.

In order to turn fear on it’s head consider this question:

What if admitting weakness could be the elevator to your greatest success?

Here are 3 simple steps to turn fear on its head:

  1. Put all your cards on the table
  2. Include your team
  3. Enlarge your circle

Let's expand on each of these steps.

1. Put All Your Cards On The Table. Admit Weakness. Admit The Truth.

You don’t want others to think you’re weak. No leader does. But, put all your cards on the table with your team. Make direct statements about where you’re weak and where you’re strong.

Your own weaknesses could be an elevator to your greatest success.

When you try to avoid looking weak, you’re not being honest with yourself or your team. Your team is counting on honest information from you. Without honest information, you deny your team the opportunity to complete the mission leveraging your strengths and theirs.

2. Include Your Team. Admit Your Weakness And Team Up For Strength.

Once you know your weakness, you can begin addressing the problem. You can stop doing things that put you in danger. You can begin partnering with the right people.

Instead of settling for a weakness, which forces you to waste energy hiding with the Mask of Invulnerability, focus on surrounding yourself with the right team. Breakthrough Leadership occurs when your weakness becomes the doorway to a team building adventure.

3. Enlarge Your Circle. Admit Weakness To Take The First Step to Breakthrough.

True strength isn’t about rejecting weakness. A leader with true strength asks, “How can I effectively build my team, in a sustainable way, if I can’t enlarge my circle?” You need to include people who have the strengths you don’t have. Building your team starts out with identify your own strengths and weakness.

Next, you’ll have to identify the strengths needed to achieve your mission. Besides, wouldn’t your leadership be far more impactful if you could spend more time on areas of highest possible contribution? Imagine if you had the margin to think strategically about your mission and the superstar team to enable it.

Think for a minute….

What’s important?

Does it matter whose idea it is?
…Or, only that you found the best idea?

Does it matter where strength comes from?
…Or, simply that the team has all the capabilities it needs to complete the mission?

Which is better?

To project strength where you are really weak?
…Or, to be a leader who models realistic assessments that builds trust within your leadership team?

This might be the first time you’ve experience this, or even thought about it. If you’ll take the time to search and assess your leadership for this fear, you can experience a breakthrough.

When you turn the Fear of Showing Weakness on it’s head, it can be fun. You can find freedom and true teamwork. You have unlimited strength because your leadership gathers strength when and where it’s needed.


1. Surprise your team with your weakness. Put your cards on the table. No one has all the answers.

2. Lead your team. The word team suggests you are not acting alone.

3. Enlarge your circle of support. Once your circle is bigger than yourself, you no longer have weakness anyway.

I’d love to hear your comments on the Fear of Showing Weakness.

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