The 7 Cs of Fearless Leadership

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Today’s changing business environment demands a new kind of leadership. Gone are the days of command and control. Today’s leader needs to fearlessly foster meaningful engagement, alignment and inspire innovative performance.

All humans share the reptilian brain’s fear of extinction and pain, an essential evolutionary survival mechanism. But the fears that typically rule us in business today are ego-based: being judged by others; not measuring up; being separated or left out; or being out of control. Making decisions based on these fears often leads us astray, and makes us less effective leaders.

At 1-degree we believe fearless leaders can inspire, empower and develop their team by modeling these seven attributes:

Courage

Courage means facing our own fears as leaders and being open hearted and willing to lean into change. It involves awareness of our strengths and weaknesses and tapping into our passion. It takes courage to quiet the chatter of the ego self-talk and tap into your intuitive inner voice. By role-modeling transparency and vulnerability, you engender trust, and encourages others to be courageous in turn.

Cause

A healthy profit should not be the purpose of a business; rather, it is the outcome of doing all the right things. Great leaders know that a meaningful “Why” galvanizes an entire organization to achieve a common purpose. A cause requires both a compelling ‘story’ of your personal “Why,” and an organizational purpose. What do you believe in, and what are you passionate about? A great exercise to help craft a compelling ‘cause’ is to write a personal and organizational epitaph.

Compassion

Compassion first starts with compassion for self; only then can we feel true empathy for others. Great leaders are willing to sacrifice own personal ego wins to serve the development of their team members.

Collaboration

True collaboration is letting go of ego to co-create what is waiting to emerge. Collaboration requires facilitation and open hearted communication. It also requires trust, inclusiveness and a powerful desire to create win-win outcomes. This often means letting go of what you think is the “right” way and being open to something new.

Coaching

The positive intent of coaching is helping others to be their best. At 1-degree we refer to it as “coach the doing.” Guiding people on the basis of their strengths, asking insightful questions, and listening to feelings as well as facts leads to greater commitment and performance. Great coaching involves being both highly nurturing and willing to have tough conversations. It is also about providing balanced feedback on a consistent basis while developing team members’ ability to self-diagnose their strengths and areas for improvement.

Creativity

Fearless leaders are catalysts and have an ability to unleash the imagination of those on their team, which sparks new ideas and practices, which creates innovation. This often involves unlearning old stories we have about not being creative. Creativity is like a muscle—it can be unleashed and learned.

Commitment

True commitment requires leaders to invite radical accountability—to be “all in.” Great leaders are able to delegate the right things in the right way to empower their teams, and to, develop and instil accountability at all levels. Leaders must have the bird’s eye view of the overall strategy, but also cascade the strategy down to team member’s individual tasks if they want to ensure flawless execution.

Lorella DePieri is Program Director at the Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Sales Leadership at York University’s Schulich Executive Education Centre. She is also CEO of Results By Design Consultants Inc., designing and delivering learning solutions that lead to sales culture transformation since 1989. And she is Co-Founder of 1-degree shift Inc., an organization whose mission is to serve and support leaders who have an appetite to transform their cultures. Tim Magwood is a co-founder of 1-degree shift, and was formerly the CEO and founder of Fusion Learning Inc.

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Do you agree? Do leaders need to be fearless? Let us know by commenting below.

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