7 Things Great Leaders Do to Be Courageous by Erik Sherman

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In the Harvard Business Review, Julie Irwin, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business, examines the dangerous myth of absolute loyalty to a leader. Not only are there many examples of people having been led astray, but such fealty presumes that a leader has all the answers and is the most important aspect of the organization.

As Irwin notes, nothing could be further from the truth. Investing that degree of deference and assumption of omniscience is dangerous and has created such disasters as Enron and the financial meltdown that brought on the Great Recession.

Rampant ego helps create such an unhealthy atmosphere, certainly. But so does fear. People find themselves in an executive position, buy into this ridiculous model of the perfect leader, and then fear that they will fail and be found out. The fear then drives dysfunctional behavior.

When I co-authored The Everything Leadership Book, 2nd Edition, the topic of fear among leaders and followers was something that repeatedly rose up. Not a surprise, if you think about it, because fear is one of the major aspects of emotional life. However, you can lead in a way that minimizes fear and eventually supplants it. Here are seven practices of great leadership that you can adopt to begin changing everything.

Embrace the intelligence of the team

Smart leaders recognize that no one can know everything. Instead, they look for and welcome intelligence in team members. You want a variety of experiences and bodies of knowledge to bring to bear on the organization’s goals. Encourage people to be smart and active in planning and execution.

Give people authority and responsibility

You can’t know everything and you can’t do everything. Micromanagement never makes sense when you can train people and then depend on them. Team members need responsibility to grow and have a good relationship to the organization and they need the authority to undertake the responsibility.

Read the rest here:  http://www.inc.com/erik-sherman/7-things-great-leaders-do-to-be-courageous.html

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