Many business leaders have the mistaken notion that accomplishing more is the right approach for achieving business success, but in fact it may be just the opposite. Some of the most awe-inspiring business successes of our time have been driven by leaders who weren’t concerned about doing more, but were instead determined to try different ways.
These ways involve thinking more, while avoiding the trap of filling up day planners with activities and meetings that perpetuate the uninspired approach to business. It truly does take courage to step back from all that, and engage in reflection about how to take a business forward. This is how the most courageous leadership works, and below are described some of the most important principles of that kind of business leadership.
Change doesn’t have to be painful
Contrary to what you may have heard in the past, significant change does not necessarily have to involve some kind of exhausting, painful makeover. It’s a complete fallacy that everything has to be just right in order for real change to take place. In fact, bringing about beneficial changes to your organization should only be difficult for those people who are not prepared for it, and who have the mindset of tending to resist it.
Accept the discomfort of something new
Any really worthwhile change in an organization is going to cause discomfort, and it’s going to cause company personnel to learn something new, and work a little harder at their jobs. Leaders who try to soften the blow and remove the suffering involved, only perpetuate the passive attitudes of the masses, which actually gets in the way of employees adapting and moving forward.
Encourage employees to share responsibility
The role of courageous leadership in a changing environment is to explain the objectives and the deliverables involved, and to urge employees to share in the responsibility for achieving them. In order to share in the responsibility, employees have to develop new competencies and skills, so they can be prepared for what’s coming.
Don’t wait for stragglers
In an organization which is truly committed to change, there is simply no room for coddling stragglers who are not on board. In effect, this would be holding the majority hostage to the tiny minority who simply cannot embrace the vision of the future. Truly great leaders understand that full commitment is required of everyone who is to remain with the organization going forward.
Become a disruptor
The real drivers of change in an organization are the employees who are closest to the actions which create products and services, and these are the people who have to lead the charge into the new-look organization. These drivers of change have to become the disruptors of the old ways, and help others to see that embracing a new philosophy is better for the company, and in turn, better for them.
Everyone has to buy in
Buying in on the part of employees is not really optional if real changes are to be brought about. It makes no sense to waste time on trying to create perfect conditions to encourage greater buy-in – everyone either has to buy in, or get left behind. The role of the courageous leader is to work closely with all those who have bought in, so that the original vision becomes achievable.
Encourage a different mindset
In order to truly embrace the future, and the change necessary to an organization for survival, most employees will have to undergo a shift in their mindsets. Rather than watering down the message and attempting to make change painless, the courageous leader needs to help prepare people for the next phase, so that the business can thrive, and employees can thrive right along with it.
If you’d like to discuss leadership strategies or coaching, Business Partner Alliance is here for you. We provide targeted coaching, consulting and business advisory services to help small and medium sized business owners achieve new heights. We put our passion and experience to work to help business people achieve their goals. Let’s meet for coffee to see how we can work together.