Fearless Leadership

Guest Blog By Laura S. Scott

When consultants Priscilla Nelson and Ed Cohen polled over 2,800 business professionals from 122 countries and asked them what leadership characteristics they admired the most, “Courage” ranked as one of the top five most admired global leadership traits, based on what survey respondents thought was needed to succeed in the future.

While most people look to their leaders to make the tough decisions, leaders look to their teams to provide the insight and data to help them make decisions confidently; but ultimately the leaders we most admire take full responsibility for the decisions they make for their organizations. This takes courage.

How else does courage express itself in leadership? What does fearless leadership look like in terms of behaviors, and the underlying beliefs that inform those behaviors?

Having coached a number of fearless leaders, I have noted some shared behaviors, traits, and the belief systems that support confident and courageous leadership.

Here are my Top Five Courageous Behaviors for Fearless Leaders:

  • Staying anchored to your core values, personal and organizational.
  • Having the courage to admit you are wrong.
  • Genuine curiosity around what you don’t know.
  • Having faith in the unseen.
  • Being transparent and trustworthy.

Each one of these behaviors is supported by a core belief that, once acknowledged, serves as the foundation for fearless leadership. Below are a few examples of core beliefs that can serve as the foundation for fearless leadership:

  • I can be trusted with power.
  • I am meant to do this work.
  • We are learning from our mistakes.
  • I know when to ask for help.
  • I will find the courage to do the right thing.

Think about the core beliefs that support you as a leader. Are they aligned with the expression of your highest self as a leader? Do these core beliefs allow you to exercise your courage muscles?

If they don’t, adopt new beliefs that do. If you want support in this, post the belief you want to adopt on the screen saver of your phone or computer.

As we move into a business climate of constant change and disruption, courage in the face of the unseen becomes critical to our success. This requires a high level of trust in ourselves, and others, as leaders and decision makers. Now more than ever, courage is not just a much-admired global leadership trait, it is what allows us to navigate through conflict, change, and challenge with our values and reputation intact.

Finding opportunities to regularly exercise courage in big and small ways allows us to practice and makes fearless leadership a habit, not just the most-admired exception in our world.

Laura Scott is a certified coach and facilitator; she partners with Key Associates and facilitates in our Key Women’s Leadership Forum.