Byron's Babbles

Finding Your Leadership Voice 

aaeaaqaaaaaaaam1aaaajgyxmzc0ndyxltzlnmitndjkzs1iowyyltninthkyjrmmtjizqThis post is an excerpt from Paul Larsen’s new book, Find Your Voice as a Leader.

What Does It Mean To Be Courageous? 

As you exert your influence to rally your team to your outcomes aligned with your values, finding your voice as a leader necessitates developing the courage to take steps forward, no matter how small the steps. Courage takes many forms. To stand up for what you believe. To speak up when no one else will. To test new behaviors. To change directions. To alter your opinion. To be visible. To stand alone in a crowd. To get comfortable with being uncomfortable. And the courage to believe in yourself. Though we most often associate courage with the battlefield, according to the Ivey Business Journal, courage is essential in the boardroom as well.

Although some may have a greater aptitude for it than others, courage isn’t something you’re born with. Anyone can learn to be more courageous. Some say courage is like a muscle—the more you use it the stronger it becomes.

Getting Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

I think most people would like to believe they live a life that stands for something. That they have a job that makes a difference. That if push comes to shove, they would stand up for what they feel is right. In reality, those words and phrases are always easier to say but not always the easiest actions to take.

Not everyone is willing to be courageous if they fear any repercussions. It means taking a risk, no matter how small, being in an uncomfortable place. Did you know that when you feel uncomfortable, there might be an opportunity for growth? But with human nature being what it is, the minute we feel uncomfortable, we immediately seek an escape path back to our safety zone, our “zone of comfortableness.” So the next time you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, stay in it, and become aware of why you feel uncomfortable. There might be something for you to learn. To try on a new skill or a new behavior. To challenge yourself. To seek a new path. To explore a new opportunity. To develop a new capability. To find your voice.

Not being afraid of discomfort is one of the key ways to learn to be more courageous, according to Forbes magazine. Not being afraid to “rock the boat” makes it much easier to stand up for what you believe. As a courageous leader, you need to have more than just a good vision and a good plan. You need to be brave enough to stand up for your team and your beliefs even when they may go against the accepted norm. You may need to challenge your traditionally held beliefs and those of others to empower yourself and your team to recognize new opportunities.

Think About This

When was the last time you remained quiet when you knew you should have spoken up? When was the last time you had an idea but didn’t say anything only to hear that same idea come from someone else later on? How many times have you wanted to speak up but didn’t? Why? What excuse did you use? Have you been feeling stuck in a rut but continue to do the same things? How does this make you feel: frustrated? disappointed? inadequate?

Now Think About This

When was the last time you stood up for what you believed in? When did you voice an opinion that was contrary to what the majority of other people were saying? When have you taken a risk and did something new: a new skill, a new activity, a new behavior? How did this make you feel: scared? excited? uncomfortable? satisfied? Probably a combination of all those and a few more feelings mixed in there. What was the outcome? Do you want to follow or lead? Do you want to remain quiet when you should speak up? That’s what courage is about: taking small, baby steps into the unknown, making yourself known, giving your opinion, asserting your feelings for what you believe is right, having an impact—having a voice.

                          ******

Paul N. Larsen, MA, CPPC, is a Certified Professional Performance Coach and an experienced leadership consultant and speaker. He has over 30 years’ business experience with executive and senior-level responsibilities within small and large companies, including being the Chief Human Resources Officer for a $3 billion organization. Paul partners with industry-wide leaders and teams from Fortune 100, start-up, and high-tech environments to find their unique leadership “VOICE” and create compelling and purposeful outcomes for their organizations. He has a proven track record with organizations such as SAP, Electronic Arts Twitter, and Walmart. Read more about Paul and his latest book, Finding Your VOICE as a Leader at www.paulnlarsen.com.

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