By E. Elizabeth Carter
If you think about true leaders, whether they are in a big or small company, in a service or product industry, one key attribute they must possess is being bold. The leader does not have to be loud or overly demonstrative, but must come across that they are the one who is directing their organization. The issue for some that was mentioned in the previous blog is that they are not aware of their own behaviors so they are perceived as too aggressive or the opposite, too wimpy.
To guide an organization properly, bold steps must be taken to combat a competitor, changes in the marketplace, and/or obsoleteness. In addition, a leader must also take action for internal reasons, including low morale and improving operations. Regardless of what is happening, a leader needs to have the insight and guts to make changes, otherwise the company will fail.
Once a decision has been made, it is necessary to take action immediately. If the leader seems hesitant, that will produce fear and anxiety amongst the members of the organization. Change is a risk, but an effective leader has analyzed the situation to minimize issues and has a solid plan. It may mean that later that plan may need to be altered, but a good leader has already taken that into consideration and is open-minded to tweak the plan if necessary.
When a leader tries new things, it demonstrates to others that it is an opportunity for growth from a profitability standpoint, but also for personal development. Learning to do new things is beneficial for an organization because it offers new challenges for the employees. It can also showcase an employee’s strengths that they were not able to utilize before.
Being bold also means knowing when to say “no”. Many people, including leaders, are not good at doing this because they hate conflict or they feel bad. Regardless, there are many reasons when it is necessary. By being honest and forthright, others will respect you even more. Leaders get into trouble when they do commit but then fail to follow through.
In negotiations, leaders need to be bold too. If they do not negotiate good terms for their products or services, profitability will suffer. It is imperative to be prepared, but also to exude a level of confidence and not to be shy about asking for what you want. The worst-case scenario is that the other person rejects that offer but you may still have the opportunity to try again. My father has a famous expression called “talk is cheap”; it means if you don’t ask, you won’t get. The worst you will hear is “no”.
One way to be bold is to take a risk and try something different. What is one thing that you have been hesitant to do? Go for it. You will regret it if you don’t try it. Good luck!
Other “B” words to ponder – brave, balanced, and behavior.