Leadership is NOT for the Faint of Heart – Be Lion Hearted
Laura R. Novakowski, President, Positive Power Strategies, Inc.
On the leadership journey, many challenges crop up that cause fear and trepidation. Time marches on and all too often leaders today are allowing circumstances and events to stop progress. Risk aversion prevails. Opportunities overlooked. Playing is safe supports mediocrity. Criticism runs rampant. Self talk becomes self condemnation. Shoddy performance is overlooked. Ultimately, there is no one championing the cause.
What can we do to lead the charge? Become lion hearted!
Here are some tips to support courageous lion hearted leadership…
- Be willing to take risks. Rather than blending in and bending to everyone else’s will and whim, look for new prospects, new adventures. Be willing to sail in unchartered waters.Follow these sage words from William Shedd’s: “A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”
- Be an opportunity seeker. Approach each person, event, situation as a chance to grow, thrive and contribute. Don’t wait to be asked. Step up and step out of the box. The opportunity seekers generated light, heat, and walked on the moon. There are infinite opportunities to make a better… if you are willing to try.Follow these words from Raymond Lindquist: “Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.”
- Set HIGH standards. Don’t settle for average. Don’t aim for mediocre. Set the bar high. Go for the gold. The lionhearted leaders are the ones who set almost impossible goals and even if they don’t hit 100% they generally achieve far greater results than the person who holds a leadership role and sets targets so low that anyone can hit them.Thoreau once wrote these profound words: “Not failure, but low aim, is a crime.”
- Set HIGH standards. Don’t settle for average. Don’t aim for mediocre. Set the bar high. Go for the gold. The lionhearted leaders are the ones who set almost impossible goals and even if they don’t hit 100% they generally achieve far greater results than the person who holds a leadership role and sets targets so low that anyone can hit them.Denis Waitley once wrote: “Life is not accountable to us. We are accountable to life.”
- Set HIGH standards. Don’t settle for average. Don’t aim for mediocre. Set the bar high. Go for the gold. The lionhearted leaders are the ones who set almost impossible goals and even if they don’t hit 100% they generally achieve far greater results than the person who holds a leadership role and sets targets so low that anyone can hit them.In the words of Vince Lombardi: “Inches make a champion.”
Today’s leader cannot be faint of heart. They must lead the cause generating passion,persistence and purpose every step of the way. Be lion hearted!
Lion Hearted Leadership
By: Leanne Hoagland-Smith, Chief Results Officer, ADVANCED SYSTEMS
For historians buffs, mention the phrase “lion hearted” and some will think of Richard I of England who was known as Coeur de Lion or Richard the Lionheart. His reputation as a great military leader and warrior proceeded him even before he ascended to the throne of England.
In today’s world, the battlefield has changed along with the dress and some of the behaviors. No longer due leaders need to dispatch their enemies to some heavenly retreat or wear suits of armor.
However, there are still some behaviors that remain the same. Thinking strategically meaning to outthink the competition is still very crucial. Being able to demonstrate courage in a landscape where the battle for economic survival is every changing mainly due to technology is critical.
Much has been written about the different types of leadership such as servant leadership. Yet, without courage, without being willing to lead by example, without a well thought out plan, battles for customers, employees to market share can be quickly lost.
Theodore Hesburgh once wrote that “no one can follow an uncertain trumpet.” The image of Richard the Lionhearted in battle was one that inspired others to follow him. His trumpet was quite certain.
Lionhearted leadership for me is about those qualities we envision when we think of these two words – lion and heart. Lions are symbols of courage, of strength, of leading a team and still being able to lead ourselves. Heart represents our emotions, our ability to relate to others, our emotional intelligence.
In a society where sometimes individualism is both desired and rejected, finding the right leadership style is difficult. Until we have the individual strength to lead ourselves first along with the heart to work with others, it truly does not matter what name we subscribe to leadership.
Personally, since people hear words and think in pictures, the concept of a lion with a big heart is not a bad one to embrace. The challenge is identifying and then living those behaviors that you believe reflect lion hearted leadership.
Do You Have a Lion Heart?
By: Laura Canter – Psychologist, CanterAssociates
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. ~ Nelson Mandela
People who are strong in courage overcome their fears and accomplish their goals despite having the fear. As Nelson Mandela pointed out in the above quote, courage does not mean that you are free of feeling or thinking of fear, but rather having the strength to reach for your goals despite the presence of fear. It’s funny, when we traditionally think of brave people; our minds go towards soldiers, fire fighters, police officers – people who tend to have stories of heroism associated with their title and job role. Of course all of these professions require brave men and women to face fear on a daily basis.
But, what about the rest of us? When was the last time you were courageous? What acts of heroism have you expressed in your professional life or personal life? Have you ever stood up for a friend or colleague, have you ever taken a risk in business, or have you stopped at an accident and asked if you could be of some help? Have you ever left an unsatisfying relationship? – aren’t all of these examples of courage?
Many people directly associate courage with actions which are influenced by their morals, ethics or values. People who are strong in courage are admirable in that they do not let a little discomfort hold them back from doing what is right or from trying a new experience. Eleanor Roosevelt said: The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experiences to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences.
Now yes, she did leave out the part that states: even if you fall flat on your face. But, falling flat on your face is okay too. It is not failing if you learn from it and keep trying to pursue your dreams and goals.
Every day I speak with Healthcare Executives going through tough job transitions. The vast majority of them are experiencing fear while going through their transition. It is not always a choice someone willingly made for themselves or for their families. But, after we talk about the previous job I begin to hear the same theme come forward – I wasn’t happy there. I haven’t been happy for a long time….I didn’t enjoy what I was doing, who I was working for…etc.
Eventually, I hear the same story over and over again – from EVERYONE! This is key: we know deep down we are not happy or satisfied. But, we are too afraid to listen to that unhappiness and ask that tough question – what if?
Instead of being in control of our own destinies, we let others take our power from us. We stay with unsatisfactory and even abusive organizations/relationships because we are too afraid. What if I leave and I don’t have a new job to go to? Many of them feel betrayed when we are let go from the organization. Though these feelings are justified, one needs to also look inward to recognize – had I just been courageous…had I just listened to that roar coming from within…maybe I would have been more proactive and left the company on my own terms. It’s amazing how much of our power we give away to other people because of fear. Listen to your lion heart! Listen to the roar from within…what is it telling you to do?
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. ~ Winston Churchill