3 essential characteristics of Fearless Leadership

| October 18, 2016

With so many different leadership styles it’s important to develop one that is right for your company. Fearlessness requires focus and dedication that doesn’t come overnight.

An overdose of courage gets Wall Street traders in trouble. We all know that curiosity killed the cat. And compassion, that’s for humanitarians and tree hugging greenies…Right?

Maybe not- courage, curiosity and compassion are three key elements of Fearless Leadership.
1. Courage
Courage is not the absence of fear. The only time you will be truly fearless is if you are drunk or dead—and neither are good attributes for leadership.

Courage is triumphing over fear. Fearless Leadership is maintaining an awareness of the fear and using it as data.

Courage is necessary for the ‘hard stuff’ of leadership: making difficult decisions like closing unprofitable divisions, communicating messages stakeholders won’t want to hear, or committing to a bold but risky new strategy.

Even more important is to have courage for the ‘soft stuff of leadership’. It takes a brave leader to let go of being right, to be vulnerable, to say ‘I don’t know.’ To connect deeply with others we need to be brave.

We need courage to understand our own intentions and analyse our own behaviours; we need courage to grow and change.

What could a little more courage do for your leadership?

2. Curiosity
Once we have found our courage, we need to cultivate curiosity.

Curiosity breaks down barriers by helping us look beyond the behavior we see (and interpret) in others, to get to their true intention.

How might cultivating some curiosity expand your influence and leadership capacity?

3. Compassion
Fearless leadership takes compassion, compassion for others – and most importantly, compassion for ourselves.

Compassion creates the desire to alleviate suffering. Fearless Leaders are people who are motivated to alleviate suffering towards a purpose.

Compassion is not weakness. It takes personal courage and leadership potency to be compassionate. When someone has compassion it allows the tough work of leadership – communicating difficult decisions, performance conversations, negotiating agreements with external stakeholders – to happen.

Be compassionate with yourself – growth happens through trying things out and learning, not by being perfect.

Where is your compassion– with others or with yourself? Show more compassion today and notice what happens.

Making courage, curiosity and compassion part of your everyday life will see you on the path to being a Fearless Leader. Attempt to focus on one of these qualities this week.