Last week I wrote a blog series “the Five C’s of Confident Leaders” – and I listed the five key elements that leaders must have to lead with confidence – Character, Control, Consistency, Credibility, and Capability. I realized this morning as I was reading my copy of “Think and Grow Rich” by Napolean Hill (I read excerpts of this book daily) that I omitted the most important “C” of all…. COURAGE. So, here is a revision – a sixth part of my five part series.
In his book, “Think and Grow Rich” Napolean Hill listed Courage as the number one major attribute of leadership. He wrote:
Unwavering Courage based upon knowledge of self, and of one’s occupation. No follower wishes to be dominated by a leader who lacks self-confidence and courage. No intelligent follower will be dominated by such a leader for very long.
Now, I admit – this book is pretty dated, and the words “dominate” no longer fit today’s modern leader. However, he does have a strong point about courage – if you expect people to follow you – you have to have to have the courage to go first.
Trail Blazers – people of inspiration, innovation, and initiation are courageous. Rosa Parks was a small black woman who’s bravery touched off a movement that banned segregation on city transit buses. By refusing to surrender her seat to a white passenger, she bravely stood for what was right, and people followed her by boycotting the bus lines. At the time, she didn’t know her one act of bravery would cause a revolution.
Your acts of courage may not spark revolutions, but it can spark people to be motivated, inspired and take action. How can you summon the courage to be a confident leader?
Be a Coach – Leave the unicorns and rainbows for story telling time. Look at situations objectively, and realistically. Being an optimist is great for morale, but sometimes you need to ditch the rose colored glasses for a moment and trade them for a clear view of reality. Create realistic game plans for you and your team – utilize their strengths and rally their weaknesses. Do not shower praises on someone for gifts and talents they don’t have for the sake of “being a nice person.” – give constructive criticism and feedback – don’t be “helpful” by being nice – be helpful by building them up.
Be a Referee – You know what is right in your heart, soul and mind …. don’t let fear keep the words inside. If you need to point out a new direction, voice an objection, or ask for clarification do not be afraid to speak your mind. It takes courage, but more often than not -someone in the group is thinking or feeling the same way, and are relieved when you bravely step forward and rescue them. Blowing the whistle doesn’t ruin the game – it makes the game better because it makes it a fair game. This one act of bravery can elevate you to leadership status. Not speaking up makes you part of the crowd.
Be a Point Gaurd – A point guard is a back court player who directs the teams offense. No one likes confrontation. Dealing with uncomfortable situations in the workplace or at home is never “fun” or “pleasant” – but it’s work that has to be done – it’s air that needs to be cleared before you can move on. A point guard has a clear vision for the team, and is the primary handler of the ball. A courageous leader often plays point guard by thwarting any conflict as it arises. Gossip, dishonesty, lack of integrity are all conflicts that must be headed off before it effects the game. Take your players aside and coach them on how to do better – and if necessary -bench them. Remember you are improving both the players and the game.
How have you demonstrated courage as a leader? Are there areas you wish you were more courageous in? Remember, each element I have discussed is a skill -one you can practice. If you’d like to practice this skill, I enCOURAGE you to take my FREE online course “Courage, Risks and Rewards” – to sign up – Click HERE.
Until then -Be brave and Hit the Heights!
Priscilla Hansen Mahoney
The Natural Leadership & Business Guide