So, I’m having this conversation with a friend recently…
She’s a fairly high-level person at a medium-sized corporation. And she’s relaying how her boss has adopted a rally cry to “be courageous.” Oddly, I’ve heard a near-identical story from a handful of others in different companies over the last 6 months. Probably a sign of the times.
Then, I asked, “what happens if you courageously propose a course of action, courageously execute it, then courageously watch the initiative go down in flames? Will they have your courageous back?
Her answer…”dunno. We’ve never really pushed the conversation that far.”
And, therein lies one of major distinctions between true leaders and those who like to sound like leaders.
Words are nice, but in the context of leadership, they’re just words.
If the people you’re saying them to don’t buy in, they might as well have stayed in your head. Especially if they are words that challenge people to provoke the norm, a move that would normally have grave consequences in the face of provocation followed by failure.
So, if you’re the leader, if you get to create the words that challenge the norm…
Be the first one to step up and risk failure!
Don’t just decree..own what comes out of your mouth.
Prove with your own actions that there’s power, integrity and support behind those words. Mullen CCO, Edward Boches, shared a great example of this in his recent post on a conversation with a Fortune 500 president.
Because if you don’t step up, if you don’t own your words, they’re just another dumb-ass proclamation from someone who everyone else will assume is either soon to be drummed out by the board or beaten into the bonds of the existing culture.
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