Leading From Fear
By: Taylor Snodgrass
I don’t claim to be a football expert. I never played or coached, but man, have I watched my fair share of games in stadiums and from sports bars, and of course sitting on the couch.
There’s always a moment in the game where it’s about 4th & 3, and I shout at the TV, “Go for it!” Instead, coach sends out the punt team, and I sink into the couch as I huff about the coach’s conservative decision.
“What is he thinking? Why’s he so scared? Don’t punt; they totally could’ve gotten the first down.” Of course, it’s not up to me, and I’m not getting paid millions of dollars to make that call like the coach is.
But every once in a while, the offense stays on the field. The stadium is electric as the fans rise to their feet and hold their breath to see if their team can convert. If the coach’s decision to go for it will pay off. And when it pays off, the whole game changes. The momentum swings in favor of that risky coach, and the crowd is PUMPED.
And while it’s not necessarily the same in the organizations where we work, I think we can relate to the coach that goes for it. We love working for a leader who takes a risk. We enjoy making an aggressive decision instead of the alternative of punting.
Of course, there are times when it’s smart to punt. It’s smart to punt when it’s 4th and 18. It’s smart to punt when you KNOW you’ll lose money or trust. It’s sometimes smart to cut your losses. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes you can’t listen to that fear of failing. You know there’s an aggressive option that will energize your team. That will get the people you lead excited. That will move the chains for your organization.
Those moments are when your team loves to work for you. When your team doesn’t feel like you’re making a decision out of fear for what could happen but out of an excitement and anticipation for what’s possible. When you say to them, “Stay out there. We’re going for it.” You know that they can succeed, and you show that you trust them to succeed. Empowering your team gives them the chance to be creative and push the envelope and change the momentum of the game. They can electrify the industry if they succeed.
And of course there’s the chance that they don’t succeed. But you lead with confidence and reassurance that there will be another chance. There’s another chance coming down the line where they can take a risk again. You’re going to learn from this failure and next time you’ll know where to be and what to do. Making sure your team knows you still trust them after a failure is the only way you’ll get them to give it their all next time. If you lead them into a risk and then punt every time after that, they’ll lose the drive they felt when you first told them to go for it.
So go for it. Not all the time, but every once in a while…push the envelope. Try something new. Take the “risky” option. Because the only way you’re going to move down the field is by going for it. If you punt away the opportunities that are a little tough all the time, your team will never grow. They’ll never have the chance to prove they can do it. They’ll never make the stadium come alive. And we know there’s nothing like a team that has the momentum of a big conversion on their side.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”239″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Taylor Snodgrass works on the creative team at Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN, where he lives with his wife, Heather. He is passionate about being a constant learner and leading others to excellence in the church and their every day lives. He also blogs regularly at 1000hourpro.com.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]