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The Most Challenging Piece Of The Leadership Puzzle

From our research and client experience at Value Drivers, we’ve identified four attributes that comprise a Leader With Courage. After taking in this 4th and final component, I’ll encourage you to head to our free Leadership Assessment to see where you stand compared to other leaders we’ve interviewed and helped.

In our previous posts, we were able to outline the first three core areas that a C-level executive (or an individual well on the path to becoming one) needed to possess and excel in. To review, those areas of strength are:

  • Being an Astute Generalist A leader who can see the “big picture” of the parts and pieces of the organization to find patterns, leading to category-busting, game-changing ideas.

  • Being an All-Star Relationship Builder A leader who is wonderfully effective at connecting with others, displaying their genuine care via an ear that solicits feedback and listens for opportunities to create alignment.

  • Being a Champion Of The Culture A leader who is a role model for the organization to follow through the behaviors, attitudes and messages that challenge the status quo and create change.

Now let’s examine the final attribute that no Leader With Courage can be without: Being a Courageous Decision Maker.

Until now, the typical leader has had a lot of marvelous characteristics he or she can utilize from a strategic perspective, but this area is so crucial for building lasting momentum. They can view where the organization needs to make change, align people and demonstrate the behaviors they wish to see more often. But without the courage to draw a line in the sand and stick with it, they’ll always have something missing that leaves them vulnerable.

Here are the key elements of being a Courageous Decision Maker. How many of these qualities do you have?

  • You know how to gather information without “paralysis by analysis” Inclusive problem solving is great. You know this by seeking out a variety of people so that they can have proper input. But there is a point where listening has to give way to actually doing. And if you take so long in the listening phase that opportunities are passing your organization by, that’s a problem. A lack of confidence will begin to seep into the culture as a result. So get what you need to collect the input from relevant parties, but ask yourself two things: 1) How many people do I need input from in order to make a decision and 2) When should I have a firm decision in place?

  • You can make a decision – and never look back Once you’ve gathered the input you require from others and weighed your options, you’re able to make a strong decision. Not every decision is guaranteed to be the right one, but you’re not going to suddenly reverse course unless you stumble into some new data that you never had before. Otherwise, you can move forward and have the full expectation that your company will fall in behind your decision. There can’t be any second-guessing on your part once the proper groundwork has been laid. Strive for agreement, but expect alignment.

  • You’re not afraid to say “no” Some leaders are fearful of being the bad guy and telling people “no.” You don’t have that issue because you know you can be fair and objective as you solicit different perspectives and listen to all proposed ideas. You respect anyone who brings a new point of view to a challenge and embrace that – but in the same breath, you know that the C-suite isn’t always going to make you the most popular person. And you’re OK with that because you know decisions are made in the greater good for the company’s goals, not in the interest of making everybody happy.

  • You consider all consequences of your actions It’s easy to discuss what the intended outcome of your decision will be. But leaders also have to think about what could happen, not just what they want to happen. In this sense, you’re planning for the unexpected, no matter how remote some possibilities may seem from the comfort of your office. Better to be prepared for as many scenarios as you can so you can quickly formulate a plan of action rather than be caught completely off guard.

  • You have to hold others accountable Accountability conversations can be challenging, but it’s vital to have them with a team or an employee who has been falling down on their commitments. Perhaps a prior leader let that person skate by and saw it as only a one-time occurrence, but you know better. If they aren’t made aware of your expectations now, they’ll take advantage of your kindness again and again. These conversations show follow-through and communicate to the team how much you value promises and commitments.

What else do Leaders With Courage often do? They have the guts to assess themselves regularly. We’ve got just the tool for that.

We’re excited to learn where your strengths lie after you take our free Leadership Assessment. If you’re in that special tier of executives known as Leaders With Courage, congratulations. However, most people have some work to do to improve upon a category or two to round out their leadership qualities. In that event, there’s no better partner in contributing to your success as a leader for the long-term than Value Drivers.

So after you take the Assessment, call Value Drivers at 312.827.2643 and let’s work on adding Leader With Courage to your resume.

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