Courageous Leaders:
Grace Under Fire

I love to see leaders who are skilled at receiving feedback, especially negative critiques. They are confident when challenged, maintaining grace under fire. It’s one of the aspects of courageous leaders that makes them so admirable.

You see, as humans, we are wired to avoid unsettling issues and, consciously or unconsciously, will avoid pain. These natural survival traits drive us as far away from the feedback loop as possible. But have you noticed? Leaders who convert critiques into improvements develop the strongest followings and have the fewest fears. They not only welcome feedback, they request it. They view constructive feedback as free self-development lessons.

Nothing earns you more respect than admitting you need to improve and taking the required steps to do so; take intentional action on the feedback you receive. Make sure people can see how your improvements impact their lives. Knowing that every person can improve eases fears (no one has cornered the market on personal and professional development).

Being intentional about preparation—and even overpreparing, at times—removes uncertainty and builds confidence:

  • Gather facts and data to build objectivity and reduce subjectivity.
  • Anticipate outcomes of different scenarios to leave less to chance.
  • Weigh the pros and cons of potential choices to help you set aside fears.
  • Understand the truth and scope of circumstances, and trust the people who help you determine them.

These are positive, logical approaches that create the most effective outcomes because they minimize uncertainty.

Intentionally sharpen your focus on the tasks at hand. Many leaders are distracted by side ventures or rabbit trails. Tempting opportunities often muddle the picture and invite confusion and doubt. As negative emotions gain a foothold, fears quickly follow and self-confidence plummets. Leaders must stay personally focused, while simultaneously focusing on everyone else. Your company’s vision, goals and objectives are your battle cry; distractions and noise must be blocked. Your path to your goal should remain unobstructed. When everyone maintains focus, you can conquer chaos, keep emotions in check and minimize fear.

Intentionality is perhaps best seen in leaders who show resilience when facing setbacks. People need to see a strong, determined leader, particularly during tough times. If you can quickly dispatch disappointments and find something positive in the problem that confronts you, your people will feel more encouraged. This, in turn, encourages you.

Battling fears is easier when you have your people’s faith and support. Establishing a never-give-up approach musters courage, and the greatest leaders adopt this mindset. They may still experience fears, but their determination to move forward with small wins overrides most anxieties.

What do you think? How do you maintain grace under fire? I’d love to hear from you. You can call me at 704-827-4474; let’s talk. And as always, I can be reached here or on LinkedIn.

This entry was posted in executive leadership, leadership and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>