If you're like most people, the idea of bold leadership conjures up images of big, charismatic, larger than life personalities. Most of us think of bold leaders as being driven, visionary and having a take-no prisoners approach to accomplishing their goals. In the world of sports we think of bold players being the ones who want the ball when the game is on line. They want to take the last second shot that will win or lose the game. In business, it's the leaders who are willing to make the multi-million dollar decisions that will propel their organizations forward or put people out of jobs. In my opinion, bold leaders have an array of characteristics and behavior that foster success. Bold leaders are described as being fearless and confident. They channel their bold ideas, opinions and actions to motivate, inspire and guide others toward a greater good. Today, more than ever, this type of leadership is in HIGH demand.
If bold leadership is limited to the popular definition I just described, then you and I don't have much of a chance to be bold, do we? I mean, let's be honest, most of us wont ever be in those types of situations. We're just average people trying to make a living, doing our jobs we can, and if we're lucky, making a small, positive difference in the world in the process. Bold leadership is for the chosen few, right? WRONG!
Bold leadership is not what you think. BOLD leadership is:
Building Trust: Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship and it's absolutely critical for successful leadership. Leadership without trust results in fear, withdrawal, compliance and risk aversion. Leading with trust creates an environment of safety and freedom that result in collaboration, creativity, risk-taking and innovation. The most successful leaders are trust builders. There's no two ways about it.
Others Focused: Bold leadership is not about you; it's about the people you lead. Do you put their interests ahead of your own? Are you striving to help them succeed or they just pawns in your grand scheme to achieve corporate or organization dominance? Bold leaders take the strengths of their team and blend them together in such a way that the team as a whole is stronger than any one individual. You can't do that if you're only focused on yourself.
Leading with Humility: Popular culture says humility equates to weakness, which is the polar opposite of being bold. REALLY? Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's about thinking about yourself less. Humility is quiet confidence in your skills and abilities that allows you to subvert your own ego for the greater good of the team, department or organization. Arrogant leaders are the ones willing to pursue their own agendas at the expense of everyone else, whereas humble leaders consider the needs of all the stakeholders, recognize the stakes at hand, and make reasoned decisions for the welfare of the group.
Daring to be vulnerable: Bold leaders aren't afraid to let down their guard a bit and be authentic with those they lead. People are yearning for leaders to express genuine care and concern, to acknowledge and appreciate them as individuals with hopes, dreams and fears and not treat with them as mindless drones, valued only only for the work they do on the job. Being vulnerable means sharing information about yourself and the organization and taking an interest in the lives of your people. You don't have to pour out your life story and be besties with every person on the team, but you do need to open up just a little bit and help people see the real you.
Bold leadership isn't reserved for the chosen few, and it certainly isn't limited to popular culture's definition of big, brash, loud leadership. Bold leadership is about the everyday behaviors we use to build trust, focusing on the needs of others, leading with confident humility and vulnerably engaging with your people in authentic and genuine ways.
What are you doing to practice and demonstrate BOLD leadership in your life and in your business?
Keep on SLAYin' until you can't SLAY no more!