Why Are Leaders Afraid to Take Risks?

– Posted in: Change Strategies Executive Coaching Leadership Coaching Performance Coaching

In today’s business world taking risks is the name of the game in order to thrive beyond your expectations. Yet too many leaders are afraid to take any kind of risk for fear of failure or making mistakes. Business today requires you to take calculated risks for greater creativity and innovation. This is more so true for those businesses that are steep in the traditional ways of conducting business.

Fear or Afraid to Take Risks

 “Do one thing every day that scares you.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

Fear is the number one reason people are afraid to take risks. Everyone has fears that are different from everyone else and it depends on how you work through them to get the best result you want and need. In the case of fearing to take a risk this can be due to a specific decision that needs to be made, moving forward to grow your business, or even that of shifting from traditional to unconventional ways to conduct business in order to thrive. For many executives and leaders you may get stuck due to these same issues.

What Does Failure Mean to You?

“Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash.” — General George Patton

The idea of fear of failure and making mistakes comes from your early years in school. You were taught that failing and making mistakes was negative. Today in business you are expected to fail and make mistakes. This let’s you know what works and what doesn’t. With this in mind you are able to experiment and modify solutions for the problems, challenges and difficulties you work with.

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

“If you risk nothing, then you risk everything.” — Geena Davis

Comfort zones are decisions and ways of doing things that have the least risks, the least unknowns and are easy for you to do.  Anyone who is too afraid to step outside their comfort zone is also too afraid to take the risks that are often needed as a leader.

Expand your horizon by changing your mindset toward being more open with the things you do. Try to change things using small tasks that impact more than you expect. Change and growth both involve taking steps forward into the relative unknown.

For many stepping outside your comfort zone is uncomfortable. Understand that with today’s business world in order to thrive you need to generate, create and produce for breakthrough results. With this in mind, gradually stretch and take one or two small steps out to feel comfortable. Then take more steps as you feel more comfortable as you need to go forward in order to thrive beyond your expectation to stay in business.


“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far it is possible to go.” — T.S. Eliot

Every leader says you want creativity and innovation yet you don’t allow employees to move in that direction. Challenge yourself to conquer your fear of taking risks by working on small things that bring you big changes and greater success. Then work on bigger tasks. Let your teams collaboratively work together to complete tasks you started. This allows those with skills, talent and knowledge to give input you may need and want to validate breakthrough results.

Finding Greater Solutions for Greater Breakthroughs

“Test fast, fail fast, adjust fast.” — Tom Peters

With a change in how you conduct business you need to look at the project you are working on and look for patterns. These patterns help you solve for the problems, challenges and difficulties you may encounter. In doing so, start to ask questions to generate thoughts, ideas and opinions as you create and produce what you need to complete the project or task.

Test and re-test each time you believe you have a solution. This helps you know what works and what doesn’t. If need be adjust what you have or maybe add or subtract in order to find the right combination to solve what you are working on.

Having Confidence and Courage

“Pearls don’t lie on the seashore. If you want one, you must dive for it.” — Chinese proverb

Leaders need both confidence and courage to conquer fear of taking risks. This helps you make the decisions your business needs to grow, become creative and innovative and to work through the specific you and your employees require to solve the situations you need to…

People and companies who are unwilling to take risks will become stagnant with no ability to innovate or change. Start taking risks in order to grow personally, professionally and businesswise. You don’t want others to pass you by as if you were standing still. On the other hand, if you are left behind, you will miss the opportunities knowing at your door or you may find someone take over your company without you in it.

What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?” — Robert Schuller

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