Here are the top traits any entrepreneur needs to adopt courageous leadership for ultimate success. Success in leadership is defined by a variety of factors, many of which might be outdated in today’s increasingly digital marketplace. While traditional leadership might focus on control and organization, courageous leadership opens the floor up for collaboration and exchange ‒ passing the threshold from boss to lead with just a few simple changes.
How to Accept Courage in the Workplace
Whether you are looking to build a successful team or hoping to influence the world around you, here are five of the most essential qualities of a courageous leader:
Know You Can’t Do it Alone.
Courageous leaders know that nothing truly innovative can be done alone. They foster a supportive team by ensuring that everyone has an equally essential seat at the table, making sure that every member is valued. Think of King Arthur’s round table, where each knight’s qualities had an even chance to shine. Grow your influence and respect by letting your team know you consider yourself one of them and are proud to do so.
A courageous leader encourages pushback whenever necessary, taking feedback and welcoming collaboration at every turn. Though it’s never easy to receive criticism ‒constructive or otherwise ‒ taking feedback is an important part of ensuring that everyone’s ideas are heard, taken into account, and eventually incorporated. Courageous leadership views organization as a network and not a pyramid, fostering an atmosphere based on inclusion, teamwork, and diversity.
Don’t be Afraid to Take Risks.
Risk-taking is a pivotal part of being a courageous leader. We know that saying “having courage in your convictions” might be overkill, but it goes a long way in the world of inclusive leadership. Going against the grain (when it makes sense to) might be scary, but the portal of originality usually opens up to inspiring innovation that pays off.
A recent study conducted by a team of renowned behavioral psychologists and published in the Journal of Applied Psychology revealed that people who take risks are more likely to be viewed as leaders. Carving a new path might feel lonely, but if your intuition feels right, the risk will be well worth the reward. Look for the things that constantly inspire you, fill the voids that need filling, and innovation will surely not be far too behind.
Be Proud of Your Story.
Traditional leaders tend to set themselves apart from their businesses; only encouraging the hierarchy keeps them at the top. Courageous leaders embed themselves into their teams, ideas and products, blending their own stories with the companies along the way. They know that people respond best to stories they resonate with, so sharing their own is a part of the lifestyle.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “Storytelling in leadership plays a big role in driving employee buy-in and improving worker engagement within a company.” Embedding your own story into that of your overall entrepreneurial vision makes it easier to connect to. Personal storytelling is a powerful tool for communicating a vision clearly and a guiding light for sending teams in the right direction. Ideas become more human where courageous leadership thrives.
Speak Your Mind Whenever You Can.
While being outspoken isn’t a necessary trait for a courageous leader, it definitely helps. Speaking your mind can have some serious problem-solving potential and has the ability to change the course of your entire entrepreneurial venture. Sticking to your guns sets you apart as a courageous leader, believing in your team’s ideas without a doubt.
Courageous leaders seek out the things that need changing and aren’t afraid to discuss the elephant in the room ‒ no matter how long a specific industry has functioned in its presence. Thanks to outspoken leaders like Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, audiences are beginning to expect executives to speak their minds and establish their own voices in the fray. While you might not need to be as loud as others, showing your true colors can go a long way in building respect within your team and among your consumers. Let your voice be heard, and chances are that the world is all ears.
Stay Unapologetically Yourself.
Courageous leaders don’t embody what they think a leader should be like ‒ they stay true to who they are. This might mean that some personal work in discovering who you are as both a leader and a person might need to be done before a successful business can take off ‒ and that’s okay! In fact, it’s encouraged. Being authentic is essential for success, whether in your approach or how you interact with the world around you. The same goes for having the courage to be vulnerable. Admitting mistakes and growing from them together only works to strengthen your future success.
Shaking off the shackles of traditional leadership won’t be easy, but these essential tips are here to help guide you on the path to defining your success. Starting with a strong team, and ensuring their happiness and pride in the work you are doing together, is a great starting point. Use your story ‒ and that of your eventual goals ‒ as a North Star to set you and your business apart, inspiring others along the way. Stay innovative, risk-oriented, and outspoken whenever you can. These key traits will set you apart as a courageous leader in any fast-paced business environment.
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The original version of this article appeared in Brain Magazine.