What do you think of when I mention “bold leadership”?
I love the term “bold leadership.” It’s not about courage, although it takes courage to be bold. I see ‘bold’ as more about adventure than bravery.
Years ago, I was at the beach, waiting in the parking area for my friend to turn up. It was a warm day so there were lots of people around, including a group of children who must have been aged about 7 or 8. Also, there in the parking area was an ice-cream van.
The children were huddling together, talking amongst themselves and I could hear what they were saying.
“How much money have you got?”
“No, I don’t have any money. Maybe I could ask Mum for some.”
“Do you think he’d give us a free one?”
It didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to work out that they wanted an ice-cream but couldn’t afford it.
“Why don’t you ask him?”
“No, you do it!”
It must have been too much for one boy because suddenly he said, “OK, I’m just gonna ask. I’ve got nothing to lose. He can only say no.”
The boy ran over to the van and asked for a free ice-cream. There was a short conversation and then the boy ran back to the group carrying an ice-cream in a double cone.
“He said we have to share it,” the boy told his friend.
This memory has stuck with me over the years because I was impressed by both the boy and the generous ice-cream vendor.
I remember thinking to myself that this was a boy who would be prime minister one day.
Looking back now I realise I’d witnessed bold leadership in action. What the young boy did was to take the same bold steps that some of our best leaders do.
What were the bold steps?
- Deciding on a goal or result.
- Weighing up the risks.
- Being prepared in case of failure.
- Doing what others are not.
- Being clear on what they are asking for.
- Focusing outward on the goal, and not inward on their fears.
- Sharing the win with their teams.
If a boy of 8 can take bold steps, why can’t we?
Do you have a story of bold leadership you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it. Please tell me about it in the comments below.