The Key to High-Performance Leadership
Courage is essential for leadership. When leaders are courageous, they are able to make tough decisions, take risks, and inspire their teams to achieve great things. One of my favorite stories about this comes from a courageous, young mother of a very famous little boy: Thomas Edison…
One day Thomas came home from school and gave a paper to his mother. He told her, “My teacher gave this paper to me and told me to only give it to my mother.” His mother’s eyes were tearful as she read the letter out loud to her child: “Your son is a genius. This school is too small for him and doesn’t have enough good teachers to train him. Please teach him yourself.”
Shortly thereafter, Mrs. Edison began homeschooling her young son in reading, writing and math. He had very little formal instruction, and he became one of the greatest inventors of the century.
Years after Edison’s mother died, one day he was looking through old family things. Suddenly he saw a folded paper in the corner of a drawer in a desk. He took it and opened it up. On the paper was written:” Your son is addled [unable to think clearly and confused]. We won’t let him come to school anymore.”
When I think of courage as a leader, this is exactly the kind of courage and compassion it takes to build a team of high performers.
Here are some of the other benefits of courage in leadership:
- Increased trust and respect: Courageous leaders are more likely to be trusted and respected by their team members. When leaders are willing to stand up for what they believe in (like their people) and take risks, they show their team that they are strong and decisive.
- Improved performance: Courageous leaders are more likely to empower their teams to succeed. When leaders trust their team to take risks and try new things, they are more likely to find innovative solutions to problems and achieve the mission together.
- A more positive and productive work environment: Courageous leaders create a more positive and productive work environment for their team members. When team members feel safe to speak their minds and take risks, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated.
Here are some tips for developing courage as a leader:
- Become aware of your fears. What are you most afraid of as a leader? Once you know what you fear, you can start to develop strategies for facing your fears head-on.
- Challenge your negative thoughts. When you have a negative thought about yourself or your ability to lead, ask yourself if it is true. Is there any evidence to support it? If not, challenge the thought and replace it with a more positive one.
- Visualize success. Imagine yourself being a courageous leader and achieving your goals. This will help you to build confidence and courage.
- Take small steps. Don’t try to do too much too soon. Start by taking small steps towards becoming a more courageous leader. As you gain success, you will build momentum and courage.
- Celebrate your successes. When you achieve a goal as a leader, take the time to celebrate success, not only for you but also for your team. This will help to reinforce your courage and motivate you all to keep going.
Courageous leaders are more likely to be trusted and respected by their team members, lead their teams to success, and create a more positive and productive work environment.
If you want to be a more courageous leader, start by becoming aware of your fears, challenging your negative thoughts, visualizing success, taking small steps, and celebrating your successes.
Here are some additional tips for leaders who want to develop their courage:
- Be honest and authentic. Courageous leaders are honest and authentic with their team members. They are not afraid to admit their mistakes or show their vulnerabilities.
- Be willing to take risks. Be a leader willing to take risks and try new things. Create a “Fail Fast” Culture, knowing that failure is a part of learning and growing.
- Be supportive of your team members. Supportive leaders create a safe and inviting environment for their team members to take risks. They encourage their team to be creative and innovative, while still maintaining personal responsibility and accountability.
- Celebrate the successes of your team. Strong leaders celebrate the successes of their team members. They know that success is a team effort.
By developing your courage as a leader, you can create a more positive and productive work environment for your team members and lead your team to achieve great things.