For the past few months I have been working on a new book I am writing on the key characteristics of effective leaders in today's new business world. As one might expect, COURAGE is one of the attributes that many people look for in a leader they would willingly follow. It seems reasonable that people would want their leader to be courageous, to take bold risks, to move forward with confidence…but there is another form of courage that might be even more important. The courage to be… vulnerable.
The courage, that as the leader, you do NOT have all of the answers, that you are not sure exactly what to do, that you might be wrong… that you need help. I know this flies in the face of what we think being a "courageous leader" is all about – but it is the truth. In today's fast-paced, information-intensive global economy no one has all the answers – no one can be successful alone – we all need help and we all need to courage to admit that without shame.
Let me also point out that nearly all of the highly successful people I have ever spent time around were disarmingly courageous in their willingness to admit their faults and ask for help. They never pretended to be experts in areas where they were not and eagerly sought out the wise counsel of the true experts.
So of course be bold, take BIG risks, show great courage in the face of difficult circumstances, but by all means also know when it is time to show an even great level of courage… the courage to admit that you need help!
by John Spence