“Wherever you see a successful business – someone once made a courageous decision.” – Peter Drucker
According to a survey conducted by Globe Careers and Howatt HR Consulting, 59% of respondents reported feeling stressed in the workplace and that work was having a negative impact on their family life, their health and they had trouble leaving work at work.
These high levels of stress have largely been brought forth due to the role fear has taken in the workplace. Fear has grown palpable to the point where many people are more worried about their job security than to step forward and take some risks.
Business, by its very nature is a competitive landscape – and that’s perfectly fine, because competition is one of the driving forces of human evolution. But when the veil of fear is blanketing innovative thinking and fresh perspective – then courageous action needs to break through.
Leadership is about social influence – not positional power
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
We’re seeing a growing issue in the workplace where many people succumb to what social psychologist, Irving Janis aptly dubbed: groupthink. A social phenomenon that discourages any disagreement from the consensus – where a group of people reach a decision without raising any alternative viewpoints because of fear of risking isolation from the group. This fear of going against the grain impacts the decision- making process and increases the loss of individual creativity, uniqueness and independent thinking.
The great leaders know how to seamlessly manage uncertainty and change. They can shatter the rampant fear that has plagued many people and boldly demonstrate their leadership in many courageous ways. However, this certainly isn’t an easy feat – but there are many common denominators that all great leaders possess that anyone can model.
6 top traits of courageous leaders
1. They seek feedback
Leaders are conscious that they don’t know everything and seek to gain a complete 360-degree perspective on feedback. They listen to the feedback and use it to revitalize their leadership style more effectively.
2. They can confront issues head-on
“Real conversations can be awkward and uncomfortable, especially if conflict is involved.” Great leaders don’t beat around the bush when it comes to pressing issues. They ask pointed questions and expect answers to be on point in return – without all the fluff disguising it.
3. They encourage discourse
Great leaders don’t have all the answers. They encourage healthy debate and the challenging of ideas to help reinvigorate the team dynamic and to avoid the disease of Groupthink. It will also solidify progress moving forward when all opinions are presented and dissected.
4. They make decisions – and move on
Courageous leaders can commit to a decision, justify their position – and move on. They separate the connotation fear has with making a tough decision and strive for forward momentum.
5. They give credit when credit is due
There is nothing worse than when a “leader” feels the need for constant external credit to substantiate their position and work ethic. They know when to attribute credit to team members, and know that it’s not a threat to their relevancy. Great leaders know how to take credit – and take their share of blame too.
6. They hold people – and themselves accountable
In order to lead by example in any regard, exceptional leaders know how to effectively call out team members on their responsibilities and can call themselves out as well. Accountability as a courageous leader will always start and end with you.
A Product Manager needs to be a courageous leader. Especially for the hybrid nature of their role and the transverse environment they need to operate on within your organization.
You need to know what to look for, learn how to plan for the long-term to develop this talent into a courageous leader – and how this will translate in taking your product to the next level.
Are you a courageous leader looking to build a team? We are an executive employment agency in Toronto, and our friendly and knowledgable team can help!