Leaders come in various shapes and sizes with different styles. Some leaders horde power, sticking to the way things have always been done. They like to control everything, never allowing employees independence of thought or action.
These leaders are afraid to spread their wings, think of possibility or encourage others to grow and develop their potential. These leaders may be filled with fear of the unknown.
Fear is our oldest emotion and hundreds of years ago were necessary to protect us and ensure our survival. Now our lives are different and for most of us, survival is no longer dependent on our fears. Our world has changed. We still need to have a healthy fear, that fear that protects us in very risky situations. For example, when on the top of a building, knowing to stay back from the edge of the roof.
Fearful leaders tell, judge, blame and shame. Fearless leaders use curiosity to explore with others, promoting learning. They work to encourage possibility, a vision of what could be.
Here are 5 strategies you need to embrace to become a fearless leader.
- With yourself: We all have those conversations with ourselves where we reflect on what has happened or what could happen in the future. Using curiosity, we can ensure we focus on possibility, opportunities that lie before us.
- With others: We can support others to nurture their curiosity and explore their possibilities so they discover what works for them. As a leader, we can support them in claiming their own power, their own direction. They can then develop in ways that work for them and optimize their presence in the organization.
Live your values:
When we understand and live by our values, we have our GPS in place so we can navigate the storms when they arise. Our values give us the courage to do what is right for us. They help us align to our greatest self so we can be fearless in how we do what we do.
- Self: Fearless leaders don’t intentionally put themselves in harm’s way. They feel comfortable exploring possibility so they can continually develop. They make mistakes and respect themselves in such situations, knowing they will learn and move on developing even greater ideas.
- Others: Fearless leaders are not reckless. They don’t put their team in harm’s way. They are respectful of others, know their limits and help them stretch to build capacity for expanding their learning.
Fearless leaders create bold visions, for themselves and others. They know there will be challenges along the way as they work towards achieving their vision and they know they are up for the challenge.
Integrity is often described as a quality of fearless leaders. Integrity requires courage to flourish and these leaders demonstrate the courage needed to ensure their team embraces integrity in all they do.
We can all be fearless leaders. Embracing curiosity helps us start along this path. The other strategies identified above help us stay the course. Fearless leaders ensure teams are committed, engaged and accountable in all they do.
Co-Founder of The Institute Of Curiosity
Kathy Taberner is a retired occupational therapist, Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with a MA in leadership and training. With her daughter, she is a co-founder of the Institute of Curiosity and co-author of the ‘Power of Curiosity’. She is committed to supporting women to strive to become the dynamic and successful leaders they want to be. Her research project for her Masters explored the leadership styles and emotional intelligence of senior female leaders in BC.
She and her husband of many years, share their time between the Okanagan and Vancouver.