Weekly Wisdom: Can Fear Be A Great Motivator?

Have you ever had pre-game jitters, been nervous before a big sales presentation, or been concerned about delivering bad news to an employee, boss or board of directors?
My answer to the question of Fear as a Motivator is both No and Yes
To support the No reply in respect to  business leaders or sports coaches, it is  true that short-term results can be gained by utilizing fear as a motivator. Having said that, the results are never pleasant, and long term it is not the right way to motivate people. Short-term results do not turn into long-term achievement. The best examples supporting this conclusion have been exhibited by very successful college coaches who rule with iron fists utilizing fear tactics. Invariably they try to move onto the pro ranks and that is where these  tactics do not work with true professionals. It is exhibited in the business world by autocratic leaders who achieve short-term goals but miss long-term objectives because they cannot retain their people.
On the Yes side of the equation  are my studies of  highly successful leaders, coaches  and athletes. A common trait they share is their self imposed and innate fear of failure.  Each day they are concerned with disappointing their teams, or fears of not achieving their vision and goals. What this group has in common is that they are high achievers and are considered best in class by those that know them.
One of the defining factors of true winners, leaders, coaches and employees  is the ability to face their fears and to not become paralyzed by them. An old coach of mine told me that everyone has their fears, but my  ability to act on and overcome them would define my level of success.
If Fear is controlling you, it may be time to confront it and see what the worst outcome is. In my own experience, it was rarely as bad as I made it out to be.

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” Rosa Parks

Weekly Wisdom by Jerry Rollins, CEO and Chairman of Sage Executive Group