embracing riskWhen it comes to business, no successful leader has made the big time by being overly hesitant and inhibited. Being bold and brash is not necessarily the key to success, but taking chances and embracing the notion of risk is. Playing it safe can certainly lead to profitability in the short term, but it greatly handicaps in the long term the growth of not just your business but also yourself, as a leader and, more importantly, as a person. Nobody looks up to those who shy off life’s challenges and are complacent with being just good enough in life and especially in business, and that’s how a leader who shuns risk taking comes across to their workforce and clientèle. It is a sign of weakness, and weakness and leadership are ultimately incompatible and a recipe for failure.

Finding a Middle Ground

That doesn’t mean you should go out there, all guns blazing and start carrying out any idea that comes into your head. Finding the balance between playing it safe and taking high risks is the key, and it is calculated risks that are thought out and carried out with care and hindsight that will win you respect. Playing it safe is also entirely necessary in many situations, and recognising this and understanding precisely why that is the case is another skill that will win you praise rather than derision. A business can experience steady growth and be essentially making a profit, but if it not pushing boundaries or making any difference, instead plodding along following the same uninspired, tried and tested formulas, it will wear out quickly for everyone involved, leading the business down a slow and tedious road to irrelevancy.

Overcoming the Fear of Failure

Ironic though it may sound, it is the overbearing fear of failure here that is the major contributing factor to what will likely become failure. It is tackling this initial fear and changing the mindsets of business leaders everywhere that is paramount to maintaining and encouraging prosperity and innovation in industries everywhere, in turn contributing towards a better, in every sense more profitable and more fulfilling world of business. For this to be put into effect is dependent on the efforts of many people as well as the quality of service or product in question here, but there is only one person who is truly capable of triggering and maintaining momentum in those below and around and that is you, the leader.

Transforming Your Mindset and Becoming a Better Leader

But just how does a leader, with no real leader themselves, muster up motivation day after day and exude confidence, self-assurance and willingness, convincing not just those around them but also themselves? Even though you will undoubtedly feel nervous and unsure some of the time, as is natural for anyone in charge of anything of substance, it is crucial that you don’t let this come across and that you don’t let it get in the way of your actions on a regular basis. Remember that it is better to be someone who has tried to lead and innovate, and taken risks but failed than someone who plays it safe and succeeds, but doesn’t improve a situation or cause growth. People will not think any less of you as a person should a risk or decision you make be unsuccessful. One of the greatest ways to keep yourself motivated and striving for betterment is to ensure you are surrounded by talented, enthusiastic people. That means developing a team of people you know you can trust and that want the same things you want for the business. Once you reach a level where you feel confident about the expertise and abilities of the people on your team, you will find it easier to make more brash decisions and be able to rely on them to do their best to make it work.

 

When taking risks, always have a thought out plan that you can explain to others clearly. The plan should illustrate your workings and thinking behind the decision to take the risk, including probability, the pros and cons of the risk and any contingency plans. This will explain, and ultimately justify, your decision, and ensure that everyone else is on the same page. Showing the logistics behind it also lets those working with you know that you really have thought this through and it is not a brash decision. This means that even if the plan turns out to be a failure, people are not going to judge you or think you did wrong. If you just flinched at the world ‘failure’, you may need to take a moment to re-read this post. Accepting that failure will happen, and is always a possibility, is integral to overcoming it in itself and being a good, bold leader who embraces risk taking and the uncertainties that accompanies this strategy.

Georgina Stewart
Georgina Stewart has worked in the executive search business for a number of years and has been lucky enough to recruit for various international and local organisations. She currently works for Marble Hill Partners, who help provide interim management. Connect with her at her Member Profile.
Georgina Stewart

@marblehillltd

Specialists in building management teams for #PrivateEquity backed businesses. Tweeting news, analysis, commentary and insight on private equity happenings.
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Georgina Stewart
Georgina Stewart