Sunday, April 19, 2009

Lead Courageously

Leading courageously is a very important trait of any successful association BoD. Today’s environment demands that BoD members make decisions that involve risk, and take their stand in the face of ambiguity or adversity. BoD members who lead courageously confront problems directly and take action based on what they believe is right. They win the respect and commitment of others by standing up for what they believe; making tough decisions despite ambiguity; by supporting others who make difficult decisions; and by following issues through to completion in spite of adversity. The following are valuable tips to help you lead courageously:

Clarify what is important to you. Identify your most, deeply held convictions. What is most important to me? What do I value the most? What is worth “fighting” or standing up for? On which of my values will I never compromise? Then use those convictions to guide your leadership.

Take a stand to resolve important issues. Pushing to resolve important issues requires clear communication, a strong emphasis on paying attention to and working with others, persistence, and the courage of your convictions. When asserting your position, be wary of using tentative language like, “I might be persuaded to …”, or “I’m not sure that it’s the best way …”. Instead, use firm, assertive language to state your position.

Demonstrate leadership courage. BoD leaders are often faced with situations in which taking the most appropriate course of action carries with it a backlash of complaints, problems, and negative reactions. It requires courage to take action in these situations. If others perceive you as lacking courage, try the following; Support others when they make tough choices; confront tough issues head on; Say “no” when necessary; When you are reluctant to make a change, ask yourself what is behind your resistance?

Drive hard on the right issues. Remember the old adage “choose your battles carefully” when you are deciding how best to spend your energies. You can’t possibly do everything, but it is especially critical for you to address the issues that get in the way of, or further the development of, your mission.

Confront problems promptly. When important individual or team issues come to your attention, it is critical to respond quickly. Addressing problems keeps them from growing and conveys the message to your team that you are willing to tackle tough issues.

Be decisive. Indecisiveness may result in the perception that you cannot make tough choices or take a stand on issues. Consider indecisive behaviors that apply to you and then try to remedy them on such things as; difficulty in determining which of several alternatives is best, immediately turning to others before you formulated your own options, procrastinating on deadlines, second-guessing yourself, using tentative language when describing your ideas, loosing touch with what is important to you, concern for taking a stand that will cause others to dislike you.

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