How brave are you feeling as a leader now?
Don’t be reluctant to admit it if you’re feeling daunted. The expectations of you have changed without warning, thanks to the pandemic. But you know something? The fact that you’re still here means you’ve bravely stepped up to the challenge. Never forget that.
We’ve spoken about courageous leadership before and the traits those impressive leaders display: traits like honesty, authenticity, open communication and trusting their people. What we haven’t spent much time discussing is how you acquire those traits and become a courageous leader.
Choose to be brave.
I’ve chosen two powerful quotes to include in today’s article because I believe they encapsulate the mindset which makes us brave.
Eleanor Roosevelt said this.
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
Why do I like this quote? It’s all about recognising your fear and understanding it. You acknowledge how you’re feeling and see what’s triggering it in you.
As leader, if you give in to fear, your whole team fails. It’s not just about you. If you don’t make a decision, the team is paralysed. If you make a choice to avoid something that you’re afraid of, the team bears the consequences.
Susan Jeffers once wrote a book called Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. She says the only way to get rid of fear is to step up and do what it is you’re afraid of. For example, if you’re afraid of skiing and you never try it, it’s always going to be a fear inside you. If you give it a go even just once, you’ve conquered it. When you look your fear in the face you know exactly what you’re dealing with and rarely is it as bad as you’ve imagined.
Follow your vision.
Audre Lorde was a writer and civil rights, activist. She faced many injustices in her lifetime, but she stood up to them. What gave her the strength to look fear in the face and keep on going?
“When I dare to be powerful — to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
There’s the answer. When you have a vision – you believe something is the right thing to do – that’s the power which drives you forward.
It won’t always be easy. Organisations aren’t designed to easily cope with change. Nor are people. In today’s world, we have no choice but to change, and leading your team though it will challenge you. Now is the time to step up and do what you’ve been afraid to do. Take that risk if you believe it will pay off. There’s no map for working through a pandemic: no right, no wrong. All we have is an opportunity.
The time is right to be courageous. Be honest, be authentic and believe in yourself and your vision. Your team will follow.