Leaders Inspire Courage

Reflecting on Christmas movies and pulling lessons from what's transpired over the past few weeks and few months, I was struck by the number of times I heard the term "believe."  In the Miracle on 34th Street, Suzie repeats over and over, "It's silly but I believe."  Believing in something doesn't make it so, or does it?

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." - John Quincy Adams

Belief inspires courage.  Believe in someone and put courage in them.  Belief that someone will succeed or fail is a key determinant in their success or failure.  We hear of stories of people who overcame the odds.  We focus on these stories for two reasons:

  1. We feel like we're fighting the odds.  It seems like someone else is always the one to accomplish the great task.  We tend to place ourselves in the less-than-special category.  Heck, we know us.  We know the laziness and selfishness we're capable of.  Deep down inside, many of us don't truly believe in ourselves much less have people in our lives who believe we are truly great.  Be honest.
  2. There are fewer of these types of stories.  It seems like whenever we get a story about believing in someone it ends up being a Santa Claus story.  The result is almost unbelievable to the point of reminding us that these types of miracles never really happen, at least not to us.

When we look for people to believe in us, we invert the process.  Belief is a gift.  When you believe in someone, you turbo-charge their vision of the future.  Vision pulls them (and us) toward great accomplishments.  Your team (or your children, or your organization) will never exceed their greatest vision of their future.  So why not help create a great vision for their future and begin to resource them to achieve it?

Nicole Nordeman co-wrote a song called Brave.

The gate is wide
The road is paved in moderation
The crowd is kind and quick to pull you in
Welcome to the middle ground
You're safe and sound and
Until now it's where I've been
'Cause it's been fear that ties me down to everything
But it's been love, Your love, that cuts the strings.

Putting others first is love.  Believing in others is an act of love.  When a leader creates an opportunity for others to succeed and when that opportunity comes with the resources, energy and the true belief that they will, in fact, succeed, that's a gift.  If you've been given that gift, thank your leaders.  Otherwise, demonstrate that you're trustworthy enough to get it. Give your people courage, inspiration, dreams, education, resources and an active, energized belief in their abilities.  Create the environment where they can succeed.

Believing in others is one key of character-based leadership.

How about sharing a story about someone who believed in you?  Or talk about someone other than yourself that you believe will accomplish great things!  Let's start the 2011 excitement right now.

Brave by Nicole Nordeman and Jay Joyce 2005 Birdwing Music / Birdboy Songs (ASCAP), admin. by EMI CMG Publishing / Sony/ATV Songs LLC / JohnnyO Music (BMI) © 2005 Sparrow
photo by iStockPhoto © Peter Hazlett

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