All leaders are different, but to some degree, there are universal risks a leader should take.
These leadership risks are what set apart the great from the good.
At Criteria for Success, we work with tons of different types of companies. They operate in different industries, countries, states, and marketplaces. And, one of the best parts of working with so many different businesses is the opportunity to interact with their dynamic leadership teams.
In my opinion, there are many aspects to being a leader. Personally, the one I like the most is taking risks.
Risk taking is something that is leveraged from company to company and person to person. For the sake of this article, I've included a general list of risks. To some degree, you're probably already engaging in these risks every day!
7 Leadership Risks The Best Managers Take:
1. Saying something in a meeting that you think might be unpopular, but knowing in your heart it’s the right thing to say, and will contribute to the group.
This is important for many reasons. Most Importantly, however, because it's this risk that sparks change. Sometimes, the hard thing to do is the thing that needs to happen. And, to be the best leader, it's your job to understand this and point it out when it happens.
Put yourself in your employee's shoes: if their leader is bringing things to light for the betterment of the company, they will follow suit. And remember, as a leader it can be hard to manager exactly what is going on every day.
It's your sales reps that know the dynamics of day-to-day selling best. Lead them to feel comfortable speaking up about things that may not be easy to address.
2. Leading a discussion when you aren’t sure exactly how it will end up, but you trust your gut that it will get to the right place.
Believe it or not, leaders don't have all the answers. In fact, they aren't supposed to.
If you have the solution to everything, there's not room for anyone else to grow. Also, if you have the solution for everything, why are you spending so much on the salaries of your team members?
The truth is, not one person has the solution to everything. Leading a discussion isn't always about having the answer. It's about getting people to talk about a topic and getting excited about the unknown.
When taking this leadership risk, let your team unfold things together. Sit back and see how things end up.
3. Stepping out of your comfort zone – i.e. standing in front of a group and leading a discussion, with all eyes on you.
Not all leaders love being in the limelight. While we may thing of the “token” leader as being an extroverted, outspoken, and charismatic tycoon, it's just not reality.
Leaders come in all shapes and sizes.
Put the same expectations you put on your employees on yourself. You expect your employees to work outside their comfort zones in order to learn and grow. So, do it yourself, too!
And, it might even be a good idea to admit to your employees that you are out of your comfort zone. Showing weakness is one of the best leadership traits because it shows others that there's always room to grow. It also displays that no one is perfect!
If your employees see the leadership risks you take, they will follow suit.
4. Declaring a future for your company and for yourself that isn’t foreseeable.
Sometimes, you need to dream big to make it big.
The best leaders can work towards a future that may not always be predictable. However, the future is always bright. And the best leaders know how to work towards a bright future.
It all comes down to the small, everyday tasks and attitudes you have. These small things add up to a much bigger whole.
5. Interacting with people’s bigness, rather than with their smallness.
In other words, seeing bigger things for people than they see for themselves.
Leadership is truly about helping your employees grow, learn, and succeed. And in order to do this, you must be able to see people for their strengths and weaknesses.
The goal is to pull out as many strengths as you can, and put them to work. Think about it like having foresight to someone's future. To be a great leader, you need to see potential and guide people to act on it.
Not all leadership risks need to be outlandish!
6. Giving people tough love, and telling them the truth about where they are falling short.
This leadership risk is crucial for good management.
Feedback is crucial. Both positive and negative feedback help to mold employees into future leaders.
In order to be a great leader, you're going to have to give negative feedback.
Remember, giving any kind of feedback is an art! However, a lot of leaders have head trash about negative feedback. We recommend asking employees, “do you mind if I give you some feedback?” before jumping in.
This question turns the conversation from you feeling like you're reprimanding the employee to feeling like you're coaching them.
7. Raising the bar for yourself and for others, and allowing you all to discover how to jump over it.
The best risk a leader can take is letting their employees take risks.
If you're open to your employees failing, the possibilities are endless. True innovation doesn't come without failure. In fact, failure is what creates innovation in the first place.
Enable your team members to discover growth for themselves. Encourage them to try new things and new methods. You'll be surprised just how much you all learn in the process.
What are your thoughts?
Do you have any other leadership risks for managers to try? Let us know in the comments, we would love to hear!