Where did we get this idea that leadership is about always having the right answer?
How did we come to the conclusion that leadership is about always knowing which way to go?
(okay, maybe from him)
Excellence and intelligence are certainly part of the equation, but all it takes is five minutes in charge to understand that those gifts are good for tackling problems, not necessarily for leading people through complicated transitions.
If you are in a leadership position, ask yourself if you have more reasons not to trust than you do to trust. When you talk about your employees and your senior staff, do you speak about their weaknesses more than you do their strengths? When you tell people stories about the ups and downs of your business, are they often punctuated by your own brilliant decisions happening in a sea of disfunction and incompetence?
The fact is that it takes courage to lead people, and not just because you might have to fight some lions along the way. Leaders have to be brave because they know that no matter how well they plan, they cannot think of everything. They know that they will need to rely on the people around them to help them get through, and that can be a scary proposition for many.
Most importantly, they have to be brave enough to trust. They have to trust their own intuition and what inspires them, even if it flies in the face of conventional thinking. They have to trust that if they communicate what inspires them that others will see it as well. They have to trust that reaching the goal with the team intact is more important than getting the credit for being the only one who knew the way there.
Some of the best leaders I have met are the ones who care as much (if not more) for the success of the people around them as they do for their own success. We can tell these leaders not only because they are successful at what they do and because they are respected, but by the courage they exhibit during times of difficulty and change.
Those are the leaders who are brave.