Good Leadership Takes Balls (Figuratively, Of Course)
One cannot effectively lead without a tremendous amount of courage. Sounds obvious, and yet I am continually amazed at the number of people who call themselves leaders who simply cannot do two things every leader must do. First, they can’t make a decision while there is still risk in it. Get me more facts. Get me more support from my board. Get me enough so that I can’t NOT make this decision. Give me slam dunks…I just don’t like to fire from outside. Second, they can’t make the tough interpersonal call. They can’t fire someone that ought to be fired. They can’t call a long-time partner and cancel a partnership that ought to be canceled. They can’t tell their board members bad news that they deserve to hear. I have worked with many leaders of billion dollar companies who could have had 50 billion dollar companies but for their inability to take risks and have the tough conversation. If their inability to do these things is just because they are soft-hearted, then we might debate whether they should be in leadership positions. Generally, though, their inability stems from fear. Fear of failing. Fear of not being liked. And what is fear? Merely a fiction created by the mind. There is not one shred of anything real in it. If we are present, if we are emotionally clear, fear doesn’t exist. We take risks and we make the tough calls.