Recent events in our country has challenged women in leadership position in ways that have never been experienced before. We have been traditionally taught that many topics are taboo in the workplace and it can be tempting to stay neutral in order to avoid uncomfortable conversations.
Now is the time to buck old traditions and take a stand. Now is the time to show your team what it means to embrace a culture of diversity not by discouraging discussion, but by helping them acknowledge that we all come from different perspectives and can learn from them.
Here are actions you can take not just now, but over the long term.
Leading Through Action
The best leaders are action-takers. When we lead through action, we set a positive example for our team and inspire them to similarly take action. In this way, we avoid one of the worst traits that any leader can possess: hypocrisy.
There are few things that will inspire dissent in your ranks as quickly as being seen to be hypocritical.
Nobody likes being asked to do things because they feel that their superior is simply unwilling or even afraid to do it themselves. You are in charge and with that comes responsibility. Simply talking about change without actually taking action will cause you to lose credibility and trust from your team.
Leading through action also means being decisive. It means being able to quickly make a decision and be willing to commit to that action.
Many lesser leaders make the mistake of deferring or avoiding decision-making. Their fear is that they’ll make the wrong decision and thus lose the respect of their staff.
However, being indecisive is worse than making an unwise or incorrect decision. Being indecisive makes you seem weak. And while taking action can result in a negative outcome, delaying a decision will only ever have negative consequences.
Conversely, it’s nearly always inspiring to see someone who makes quick decisions and doesn’t doubt themselves. Decisiveness also builds confidence in your team members.
How is decisiveness a mark of courage?
Simply, it means that you’re willing to accept the responsibility that comes with the role of being a leader. Being a leader doesn’t mean telling others what to do and it certainly doesn’t mean getting to take all the credit.
Being a leader means taking responsibility for the team. It means protecting them, so they can do their best work. It means making decisions and being willing to deal with the consequences. It’s only when we don’t want to look bad that we avoid making decisions… and that is ultimately a mark of cowardice.
Finally, being a courageous leader means that you take your lumps when things do go sour. If you make a mistake, it’s important to not only own up to it, but also stay calm and collected when you’re reprimanded by your own superiors, or when the organization risks collapsing.
Likewise, it’s crucial to remain calm in a crisis. That means setting a good example when things seem to be going wrong for the team. Prevent your team from going into a panic. Stay calm and you’ll be able to address the issue in the best possible way.
How to Be the Hero They Need
Where does all this courage and stoicism come from? How can you acquire it if you don’t possess it naturally?
Does it mean trying to act tough?
Not at all.
Being a truly great leader comes from having the right priorities. It means, focussing on the goals of your organization and the happiness and comfort of your team. When you do that, it’s easy to be a courageous leader.
Ebony Langston is an Executive & Health Coach that works with women leaders to be the best version of themselves. To learn more information you can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.