Fear of Leadership

I was sent a Biblical story about fear. I know that Moses feared the role God picked for him to do, which was to be the “leader.”  Moses felt inadequate being a leader, but God prevailed, and we all know the rest of the story.

The Biblical story tells us that others picked by God also feared what was being asked of them. Fear keeps most people from being responsible for others and often for themselves. It’s an emotion so powerful that it often shapes what we do and speak.

The power invested in parenthood may bring the feeling of fear to a baby if, as I have written and said frequently, the parents are blind to their power, and it’s being used to control as opposed to teaching. The difference is slight but significant.  Of course, the same is true throughout our lives: when power is used to control, manipulate, intimidate, or even teach us, it may bring fear into play. I believe FEAR is an obstruction between us that has broad ramifications.

My recommendation is that leaders need to avoid mixing fear into significant relationships. If a pyramid of “power down” exists, bringing fear into any relationship can only do more harm than good.

And finally, why is fear of leadership so often the case? It has been my experience, first as the leader of my own firm and later when I became a mentor to business leaders and professionals, that power is not a prize most people want. They want the freedom to be themselves and do their job and wish for a leader who makes this possible. So as a leader, do not fear your role; instead, do everything in your power to help your good people do theirs.  

I fear leadership—Not doing my job or you—I am free to be


Author: Sy Ogulnick

Sy Ogulnick received a BA from UCLA, Teacher’s Credential from Los Angeles Board of Education and completed phase I (Master’s portion) in a Doctor of Behavioral Science program at California Coast University. Sy leased and operated a summer day camp in LA. He and his wife then purchased virgin wilderness land in Northern CA, where they built and operated a coed summer camp. They moved to Las Vegas, NV, and purchased, built and operated a community children’s program for families staying in a major resort casino in Las Vegas. They have created programs for children nationwide that employed many people and in the process developed successful training programs for personnel. This led Sy to lecture on how to train staff and the creating of community within the workplace. Sy was then invited to speak at professional conferences on how best to hire and train employees, which led to his becoming a consultant in the art of improving relationships in a work environment and eventually to his epiphany that “Leaders are the primary problem and the answer to the personnel issues that arise in the workplace.” Sy has written numerous papers on the subject of interpersonal relationships, leadership and power. He has lectured throughout the United States, has been interviewed by the media and has appeared on many radio and TV talk shows

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