Leadership if not for the wimpy. The challenges leaders face at work and at home will test your mettle. You will have to make choices of all sizes. Fear and discomfort are part of leading. Facing that fear and discomfort displays the guts it takes to be a Leader of Character.
The choices leaders face come in all sizes. For simplicity I am going to break them into Small, Medium, and Large choices.
Small Choices take Guts
- Try a new food or workout routine.
- Start a conversation with a new person.
- Do something new that you are uncomfortable doing.
- Follow through on a punishment you warned your child about.
- Be honest when you are late and say, “I didn’t leave the house on time.”
Medium Choices take Guts
- Challenge a co-worker who uses inappropriate language at work.
- Coach a subordinate who is not meeting the team standards.
- Let your child fail at something instead of fixing it before he/she fails.
- Speak out against a strategy that causes people to work in the gray area.
- Accept responsibility for your own failures and the failures of your team without making excuses.
Large Choices take Guts
- Stand up to your boss if he/she is demeaning to you or to others on the team.
- Fire a high performing employee who ignores the behavioral standards of the team.
- Allow your child to follow their dreams instead of doing what you believe is the sensible thing.
- Refuse to implement an unethical or immoral strategy even if you could lose your job.
- Admit to a major failure by you or your team even if you could lose a major client or even your job.
Size Doesn’t Matter
The size of the choice does not matter. It takes guts to be a Leader of Character whether you have to make small, medium, or large choices.
The small choices prepare us for the larger choices to come. In fact, there are no small choices when dealing with our character. They are all large choices.
The more often we face our fears the easier it gets in the future. Over time, in the small choices and the large choices we begin to demonstrate the guts that will make us a Leader of Character.
The Bottom Line:
A leader’s willingness to take action is a window into that leader’s character. The Courage of the leader is on display in all of his/her choices.
It takes guts to take action, to speak out, to respond to moral challenges, to take responsibility, and to accept the possibility of failure.
If a leader chooses to do someting else or to do nothing at all, that leader is not a Leader of Character. That is a leader who allows fear and comfort to make the decisions.
It takes guts to to be a Leader of Character.
The gutsy leaders, the Leaders of Character, have practiced Courage more than other leaders. They make regular choices, large and small, to face their fears.
Courage takes practice. It is time to practice!
What are some other examples leaders face that require guts?
Dave Anderson is coauthor of the Amazon Best-Seller Becoming a Leader of Character – Six Habits that Make or Break a Leader at Work and at Home with his father General James L. Anderson (USA Retired).
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