Executive Focus: Courageous Leadership Requires a Plan of ATTACK
Courage is perhaps the most critical leadership trait, but it’s something you’re more likely to associate with four-star generals than with managers. But courage can be developed and nurtured, and courageous leadership can become an automatic response. The path to courageous leadership can be summed up by the acronym ATTACK.
Accept your circumstances. Most leaders either overestimate or underestimate their current culture’s health. As a leader, you need to look reality in the face and accept it. This doesn’t mean you should settle, but accepting that you have a less-than-ideal corporate culture is the first step toward changing it for the better. Ask yourself,”What am I pretending not to know?”
Take responsibility. Own the results of your choices. Don’t blame outside conditions for circumstances within your corporate culture. Not every problem your company has is your fault, but if you fail to do anything about those problems, that’s your fault. Responsibility is not about blame; it’s about response.
Take action. You’re never going to have all the data necessary to make all the decisions you need to make as a leader. You have to act in spite of this. Even if you do have the data, you must be courageous enough not to feel that you have every “t” crossed and every”i” dotted before you pull the trigger. Analyze the pitfalls and act quickly.
Acknowledge progress. Many leaders are so goal-oriented they can’t see the individual steps of the process. Determine the desired results, determine the benchmarks, and be certain those benchmarks are acknowledged and celebrated when they’re achieved.
Commit to lifelong learning. If you’re not learning, you’re not leading, regardless of your title. Commit yourself to learning on three levels. Learn about yourself first, your people second and your industry third.
Kindle relationships. Courageous leaders constantly are developing people, engaging people and caring about their progress. That means confronting people, challenging them and not letting them get away with being less than you know they can be.