When we think of leaders, we might be tempted to think of courageous and heroic figures. A leader is the person at the vanguard of the army, leading the charge and taking the brunt of incoming fire.
Of course, this is not the reality for most of us. Most people will simply be managers, leaders and parents, without experiencing any gunfire or charging.
But that doesn’t mean you become a masterpiece of minimalism. It is still very important to be courageous and heroic in your own life. It’s just that this courage will take a different form.
Portrait of the little boy in a suit of the knight
Leading Through Action
Some of the best leaders are action-takers. When we lead through action, we set a positive example for our team and inspire them to similarly take action. Through leading by example, we avoid one of the worst traits that any leader can possess: hypocrisy.
There are few things that will destroy your credibility as quickly as being seen as hypocritical.
Nobody likes being asked to do things because their superior is simply unwilling or even afraid to do it themselves. As a leader, your role is to lead, and with that comes responsibility. Candidly, giving the worst tasks to your team and not taking part in them yourself is an abuse of your power.
Leading through action also means being decisive. It means being able to quickly make a decision and be willing to commit to that action.
Poor leaders make the mistake of deferring or avoiding decision-making. Their fear is that they’ll make the wrong decision and thus lose the respect of their staff.
However, being indecisive is a sure way of eroding the confidence your team members have in you.Being indecisive makes you seem weak. And while taking decisive action can sometimes result in a negative outcome, delaying a decision or not deciding, will ultimately fester in a workplace setting.
Conversely, it’s inspiring to see someone who doesn’t doubt themselves. Decisiveness also builds confidence in your team members.
How is decisiveness a mark of courage?
Simply, it means that you’re willing to accept the responsibility that comes with the role of being a leader. The self-accountability for your actions will set you apart from average leaders.
Being a leader means taking responsibility for the team. It means protecting them, and removing barriers so they can do their best work. It means making decisions and being willing to lean into the consequences. It’s only when we don’t want to look bad that we avoid making decisions, which is a mark of fearfulness.
Cool, Calm, and Collected
Finally, being a courageous leader means that you take your lumps when things do go south. If you make a mistake, it’s important to not only own up to it, but to remain calm and keep your head about you. Particularly when those around you are losing theirs.
Likewise, it’s crucial to remain calm in a crisis. That means setting a good example when things seem to be going wrong for the team. If you panic, chances are your team will as well. Stay calm and model the appropriate behavior.
Be the Hero They Need
Where does courage and stoicism come from? How can you acquire it if you don’t possess it naturally? Does it mean trying to act tough?
Not at all.
Being a great leader comes from having the right priorities. It means having awareness of others before yourself. Focus on the goals of the business and the success of your team. When you do that, you will leave every organization better than when you first arrived.
We are rooting for you!
Avery and Brian