Gaining the Courage to Lead

Do you have the courage to lead or does self-imposed fear restrict your willingness to take on a leadership role? One of my heroes, Nelson Mandela said: “Fear and courage are brothers. I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”

The top 4 characteristics people say they want from their leaders, whether formal or informal, are: honesty, forward-looking, inspiring and competent. The only thing that stops you being that person is often self-imposed fear.

There is no single way to lead. Leadership develops over time. You practice, reflect, follow role models, get feedback and study the theory. You gain the confidence to lead. In today’s world, you have to be like an APP – constantly updating and adapting to change.

With many different styles of leadership, it’s knowing which style you have and how others respond to that style that will distinguish you as a leader. It’s understanding how important it is to address one’s own personality and motivations while recognizing how different everyone is and what motivates them.

Some informal surveying with a range of colleagues, friends and interns showed common aspects related to gaining the courage to lead:
• Be self-aware
• Have self-trust – trust your instincts; recognize your intrinsic value and be able to show up consistently with it; be authentic
• Have a conviction for what you are doing – know your subject, have a clear path
• Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know or need help – knowing who to ask is a major strength
• Enable others to produce or input (engagement)
• Be willing to make unpopular decisions, if you believe it is right for the company, organization or individual (after you’ve listened to input!)
• Understand how important it is to address one’s own personality and motivations while recognizing other people’s differences and what motivates them.

One of the ways to grow as a leader is to take classes that address the challenges and the executable fundamentals, sharing experiences and solutions. JBL Strategies offers leadership development programs focused on integrating personal leadership growth, strategy and communications to become stronger, more effective leaders.

Go out and be fearless!

P.S. Not everyone wants to be a leader. Their success lies in recognizing that and focusing on being a great team player, a key component of the whole.

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