“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” – Vincent van Gogh
Leaders do not hide. Leaders do not point fingers away from themselves. Leaders do not ride the coat-tales of someone more popular. Finding and using your VOICE as a Leader takes Courage. Once you’ve discovered your core Values, established your Outcomes, and determined what you can and can’t Influence, it will take Courage to step out of your comfort zone and use your VOICE for impact. You owe it to yourself and you owe it to the world to step into your courage and lead from a core of confidence.
Courageous leadership takes many forms. To stand up for what you believe. To speak up when no one else will. To test new behaviors. To change directions. To alter your opinion. To be visible. To make unpopular decisions. To jump before you are ready. To run instead of walk. To go slow in order to go fast. To stand alone in a crowd. To get comfortable with being uncomfortable. And the courage to believe in yourself as a leader.
What does it mean to be a courageous leader?
Although some may have a greater aptitude for it than others, anyone can learn to be more courageous. Some say courage is like a muscle—the more you use it the stronger it becomes. It means taking a risk and standing alone with your values, your beliefs, and your vision. These statements might help you to step into your courage:
- I create an environment for myself that encourages invention and taking a chance.
- I make strong decisions for myself, and I stand behind my decisions and the decisions of my team.
- I demonstrate the continuous ability to step out of my comfort zone and test new skills and behaviors.
- I realistically appraise my strengths and weaknesses without my ego getting in the way.
Getting Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable
I think most people would like to think they live a life that stands for something. That they have a job that makes a difference. That if push comes to shove, they would stand up for what they feel is right. In reality, those words and phrases are always easier to say but are not always the easiest actions to take.
Not everyone is willing to be courageous if they fear any repercussions. Courageous leadership means taking a risk, no matter how small. Being in an uncomfortable place. Did you know that when you feel uncomfortable, there might be an opportunity for growth? But human nature being what it is, the minute we feel uncomfortable, we immediately seek an escape path back to our safety zone, our “zone of comfortableness.” So the next time you find yourself in this type of situation, stay in it, become aware of why you feel uncomfortable. There might be something for you to learn. To try on a new skill….a new behavior…to challenge yourself….to seek a new path…to explore a new opportunity…to develop a new capability…to find your VOICE.
Think about this:
When was the last time you remained quiet when you knew you should have spoken up? When was the last time you had an idea but didn’t say anything only to hear that same idea come from someone else later on? How many times have you wanted to speak up but you didn’t? Why? What excuse did you use? Have you been feeling stuck in a rut but continue to do the same things? How does this make you feel: frustrated? disappointed? inadequate?
Now think about this:
When was the last time you stood up for what you believed in? When did you VOICE an opinion that was contrary to what the majority of other people were saying? When have you taken a risk and did something new: a new skill, a new activity, or a new behavior?
How did this make you feel: scary? excited? uncomfortable? satisfied? Probably a combination of all those and a few more feelings mixed in there. What was the outcome?
Do you want to follow or lead? Do you want to remain quiet when you should speak up? That’s what courageous leadership is about: taking small, baby steps into the unknown, making yourself known, giving your opinion, asserting your feelings for what you believe is right, having an impact—having a VOICE.
By integrating the Emergenetics Profile into my executive coaching practice, I am able to guide leaders into greater insight and awareness of what is important to them in their life, and, thus, how creating their vision with aligned outcomes impact their leadership brand and create the vision they desire.
Finding your VOICE as a leader does not mean shouting to make an impact…it means applying the Emergenetics Profile to reveal your brilliance as a leader by:
- Discovering your critical leadership Values;
- Creating a compelling vision to obtain the Outcomes you need;
- Influencing your relationships with trust and credibility;
- Making decisions that reveal your Courage and confidence to take a stand;
- Communicating your overall Expression for lasting impact.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As an Executive Coach and Emergenetics Associate, Paul partners with leaders and teams, enabling them to find their unique “VOICE” and create successful outcomes for themselves and their organizations. He has a proven and successful track record in building leadership bench-strength within all types of organization, from Fortune 100 firms to start-up companies to non-profit organizations.