Leaders Watch Out for Doubt and Fear

Angela Franklin, the President of Des Moines University, spoke at 90 Ideas back in September, and urged leaders to acknowledge the power that doubt and fear can have over a team.

The techniques she recommends are based in part on “The Butler Way.”

The Butler Way is the idea that selflessness and commitment to the team are basic, and the following values are embraced:

  1. Humility – know who we are, strengths and weaknesses
  2. Passion – do not be lukewarm, commit to excellence
  3. Unity – do not divide our house, team first
  4. Servanthood – make teammates better, lead by giving
  5. Thankfulness – learn from every circumstance

President Franklin emphasizes these values in teams, but also anchors them with her institution’s core values of accountability, collaboration, honesty, inclusiveness, and wellness.

What does this have to do with doubt and fear?

In any organization, there’s interference bred by change, uncertain interpersonal relationships, and external forces. Those forces cause fear and stress, and then doubt creeps in. People doubt that relationships can be preserved, that painful change might be coming, and that everyone is headed toward the same goals.

How can there be doubt and/or fear when people adopt Servanthood—making others better? When you combine that with honesty, and inclusiveness, then what happens? Good things.

Where are you at? How do your core values match The Butler Way? If you value integrity and teamwork, then combine that with Thankfulness, you should end up with people showing appreciation when things go well, which helps everyone stay on the right path.

And, it eliminates doubt and fear.

Ask yourself—and those around you—”What causes doubt and fear around here?” When you come up with the answer, find a solution based in your values, combined with humility, passion, unity, servanthood, and thankfulness.

Thanks for reading,

Alan Feirer




This post is part of a set of posts inspired by the Business Record’s “90 Ideas in 90 Minutes” event in September 2017. Learn more, download a pdf, and see all the speakers here.

Post 1: Leaders Develop Everyone
Post 2: Leaders Encourage Thinking “A Step Above”
Post 3: Leaders Ask “Does it Need to be Said?”
Post 4: Leaders Use Time Wisely: Rethink the Block
Post 5: Leaders Champion Inclusion and Diversity
Post 6: Leaders Stay Hydrated
Post 7: Leaders Make Changes Stick
Post 8: Leaders Engineer an Experience
Post 9: Leaders Measure More than the Average
Post 10: Leaders Pay it Forward

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