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  • Justin Jacobs

Leading Out of Fear

My first formal leadership experience was a disaster.

At the ten year mark in the U.S. Coast Guard, I was given my first, formal leadership position over an office of 35 people and two small, remote units in South Texas along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

I had no formal leadership training.

My leadership experience consisted of running a small shop of 6 people after I had been serving for 3 years.

In that instance, we had a specific job to do, and I helped make sure we got it done.

But the people I worked with had all served longer than I, they were very professional, and I didn’t have any issues to address while leading the operations.

On the other hand, the job in Texas was a disaster for me and those that worked for me.

Because I led out of fear.

I was afraid because I felt like my lack of formal leadership training made me ill prepared to lead.

I was afraid because I was experiencing Imposter Syndrome.

And I thought I was all alone.

So, I isolated myself from the team.

As a result, leading out of fear created anger.

I was angry and short-tempered when things didn’t go correctly.

I assumed people knew what I wanted and got angry when they didn’t perform as I expected.

I made decisions to give poor performance evaluations that essentially ended the careers of two individuals on the team.

I regret it to this day.

There were some performance issues that they were completely responsible for, but I didn’t do enough to help them before they got into trouble, and I didn’t try to help them after the fact.

I marked them harshly and essentially ended their careers.

But the whole team suffered as well.

And so did:




Thankfully, I had four years after that tour to reflect on my mistakes.

To examine why I led the way I did.

To think about what I would do to fix it so that the next time (hopefully) I was given a leadership position, I would not make the same mistakes.

I decided that rather than lead out of fear, I would lead out of love.

(I’ll post more about that experience (the best of my career) at another time.)

What the moral of the story?

Don’t lead out of fear! Lead out of love.

If you are afraid of leading, you and your team will suffer.

I know what it is to fail at leadership.

I also know what it is to excel beyond all expectations and create a workplace that people love.

My battle scars from my poor leadership make me a better leader.

And I can help you be a better leader.

You’re ready to make a positive move to take control of your life and gain the leadership skills you need to succeed in work and in life.

Schedule your FREE Discovery Call with me and let's get going!

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