Being a courageous leader is about more than just making a decision and moving full-speed ahead. It also means having the courage to completely change the game. We all have some level of fear. Courage is confronting this fear and taking action.
Everyone seems to want to grow their company and be a strong leader, but does everyone have the courage that it will take to implement changes and disrupt your current business model?
THE COURAGE TO PUT YOUR TEAM FIRST
As a leader, you’re the one with the power to make the decisions and create change. This power requires a certain level of humbleness and the ability to accept that you are not perfect. Just like everyone else on your team, you have both strengths and weaknesses. Too often, leaders try to hide their flaws and become defensive when faced with criticism. Owning your weaknesses and accepting criticism takes courage.
Putting your team first and doing what’s best for your company may mean stepping aside, relinquishing some of the control, and completely changing your business model. The strongest companies don’t rely on any one person. They use systems, processes, and technology to grow the revenue of their business. Changing your business model means you, and perhaps some of your leadership team, are giving up some control that you may be used to having. It may be a complete paradigm shift for your organization.
During a paradigm-shift like this, your team will look to you for guidance and leadership. If you express even the slightest bit of resentment or anger, they will pick up on this. A strong leader keeps their emotions in check and maintains composure for the greater good of the team. Now’s the time to put pride aside so you can lead your team to greatness.
THE COURAGE TO TRY NEW APPROACHES
Once you realize a change needs to be made, it’ll take courage to try innovative ideas. Sticking with the status quo is easy; trying something new is scary because it’s unknown. A common approach to making changes in an organization is to look at what others within your industry are doing. This approach, however, often results in more of the same, outdated ideas.
Don’t let fear of the unknown stop you from making the changes you need to purposefully grow your business. By looking outside of your industry, you open yourself and your company up to real growth. If your goal is to improve client relations, for example, take a look at what Apple or the Four Seasons are doing. These companies know how to create an experience for the customer rather than just looking at it as another transaction.
Innovative ideas and approaches may seem crazy to others in your company and industry because it disrupts the way things have always been done. Don’t let that stop you. Having the courage to try these “crazy” ideas set your business apart from others and help you develop unique branding. In the end, only your clients’ opinions matter.
THE COURAGE TO CHANGE ROLES
Implementing changes might mean making some changes to your workforce. You may need to slightly change the role of some traditional positions in your company or repurpose them entirely. Just as you have your strengths and weaknesses as a leader, your employees do to.
Not everyone will be onboard with your new processes or have the abilities to fit their new role. For your new business model to work, you’ll need the right people in the right role. This means you need to courage to let an employee go if they don’t have the capability or aren’t a good fit for their new role.
It also might mean completely letting go of part of your business processes and outsourcing. Partnering with a company who specializes in something your employees don’t, such as cold calling or marketing, can help your business grow in ways it wouldn’t if you stuck to the status quo. Releasing these processes to an external company can be difficult and it takes courage to be willing to try it.
THE COURAGE TO TAKE THE FIRST STEP
Taking the first step and making the first change is always the hardest. You have to be willing to put yourself out there as a leader, tactfully respond to criticism, and make tough decisions. It’s easy and comfortable to stick to the status quo, but this type of leadership doesn’t grow a business. It takes courage and a willingness to fail if you want to change the game, but it’s always worth it.
Have you read?
Wesley Middleton’s book Violent Leadership: Be a Force for Change. Disrupt. Innovate. Energize. (ForbesBooks).