Australian leaders spend millions of dollars and hours every year developing their own leadership capability and that of their teams, yet as individuals are often undecided about what really works. Part of the reason is that many people resist standing up and out than those willing to lead with the audacity of conviction, courage and care for fear of failure or losing their authority.

Yet, audacious leadership means having the ability to lead with an unwavering sense of purpose, to bet against the consensus and stand apart from others while balancing strength with compassion and humility.

It requires an unwavering mindset that connects leaders to their people and customer with a ‘head on–heart-on’ mentality, being hard on the problem and empathic on the person.

My belief is that many people are challenged today in trying to  find quick fixes to new issues in a unstable world but have become immobilized to act due to financial pressures/lack of staff or resources/ and cannot deal with any further disruptions. However, while it is not necessary to disrupt every aspect of one’s business, every business is being disrupted and contributing to change.

And while technology  and AI is one of the largest disruptors, the biggest successes of the future will be built on collaboration. Audacious leaders are the  enablers not just the drivers.

So the question is how can leaders work with an unwavering sense of audacious purpose  underpinned by conviction, courage and care and do it well?

Firstly, an audacious leadership mindset will have to have first believe in something enough that they can bet against the consensus and show radical transparency and focus in what they believe is to be right and done. If people can’t demonstrate their vision or how they can bring others along, conviction alone will not be enough. They need  to have the conviction of others to fully endorse and implement ideas. And if they do not always agree it still means people need to fully understand the scope and intent of the work they will be asked to do or be part of under the banner of the company. But it also means that an audacious  mindset must accept and even expect that within the spectrum of leadership there will be many hues and most certainly they will challenge, surprise, frustrate or inspire their staff or stakeholders and as such they must be willing to work with a wide variety of options and opportunities.

That’s leadership. Like it or not.

Today’s leader is no longer one dimensional in style or behaviour. No longer do staff wait to be lead. They want autonomy but require purpose. Customers too have little tolerance or patience for mediocrity so the onus is upon leaders to give provide insight and so customers (and staff) have their expectations met quickly.

Secondly, an audacious leader must be courageous to ‘swallow a frog’ every so often and do what may be uncomfortable for them. Sometimes that means recognising it can be difficult to address resolve issues that cause pain or distress to others such as terminating jobs, changing work expectations or calling out behaviours that need changing, but always mindful of  conducting the communications  with humility.

Leaders have to stretch their communication capacity and capability and give voice to their passions, convictions and do with it courage even when they feel their most vulnerable.

Audacious leaders will lead best by showing how much they care, and that means showing vulnerability and resilience even in the face of tougher competition and further unexpected events.


About the author : Ricky Nowak

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