I was doing many trade-offs during my past corporate life – those significant small choices that keep you feel somewhat safe on the surface and utterly unfulfilled deep down. Today, as a coach, I’m listening to many corporate stories that resemble this pattern of existence. Acting from my own coaching consciousness, I know it’s not about offering advice based on the reality that was once known to me personally. It’s simply about noticing the behaviour of human beings when they deny themselves their innate boldness, their natural ability to lead from self, others and all their circumstances in a meaningful way. It’s about recognising – or not – bold leaders.
Here’s a belief that I hold and that some may find confronting: everyone is a bold leader. However, not everyone chooses to engage with that potential. Some people are simply not up for that much risk and discomfort. They prefer staying safe. Those who are, will always lead the way to create a meaningful world around them.
And what do those who are up for the risk of bold leadership believe about that particular way of being and acting in their life and work? Here are their five perspectives:
- Bold leadership is a journey of learning, not knowing.
- Bold leadership is an act of radical connection, not distance.
- Bold leadership is a space for bolder conversations, not unspoken opinions.
- Bold leadership is a life and work of meaningful contributions, not bland trade-offs.
- Bold leadership is a conscious choice between passion and safety that we’re all repeatedly faced with.
This is bold leaders’ understanding of leadership. This is, in fact, their vision turned reality.
Pause to think about these perspectives and you’ll notice the discomfort that lives in each of them. Each has the potential of pushing us to or even over the edge. In addition to being edgy, these perspectives are also visionary. Behind such way of living and leading there is the vision of a better world. The world that is bolder and more meaningful.
Bold leaders know that our collective world gets impacted by the way each of us act on something that matters to us. When the American author Howard Thurman in his well-known quote says that the world needs people who have come alive, what he really speaks about is our authentic engagement that designs the world when we dare to boldly pursue whatever holds most meaning for us. Therefore, even our smallest acts stand for our choices that shape the world over time, whatever our world is – our organisations, our teams, our communities, our families.
This is bold leaders’ understanding of the impact of their leadership. They make their world-shaping choices consciously. And the reason we need them, broadly speaking, is to teach us how to boldly hold our vision for the world that matters to us and cut through discomfort in our journey of creating such world. I dare to know that starting with their five perspectives will help us make enough radical contribution.