We often hear that effective leadership requires bold decisions and behavior. However, servant leadership principles tend to illustrate a very different type of leader from what most people are accustomed to. While we don’t disagree with the premise that leaders need to be bold, we want to look at the term through a different lens in this episode.
One definition illustrates the word “bold” as showing the ability to take risks; to be confident and courageous. Here, again, we wouldn’t disagree with that interpretation. However, it’s our belief that some leaders apply a narrow perspective to risk taking and courage.
Being bold does not always imply blatant action or outrageous thinking. Sometimes being bold comes in the form of simply opting not to act how the world expects us to or pausing to reflect on our thoughts instead of constantly forcing others to agree with our thinking.
As servant leaders, we view listening as bold in a world where many leaders love to hear themselves talk or repeatedly show you how smart they are. Boldness may come in the form of slowing down at times and re-assessing when others have established a breakneck approach at a breakneck pace. And bold leadership may actually be equipping and empowering others to lead in tandem instead of always assuming a fixed position at the front of the line.
You may say, how will I stay relevant, competitive and innovative with this quieter, slower approach? Well, as they say, sometimes the answer lies in the question.
Slower doesn’t mean stop. Quieter does not imply total and lasting silence.
We love how one author referred to bold behavior. To them, they equated being bold with that of a predator’s stealth. The predator is not so loud as to startle its prey to where it might run off. It isn’t so quick that it can be seen approaching from feet or even yards away. The predator’s boldness is evident in how it acutely views its environment, slowly and steadily; and how it listens for clues which may or may not provide additional insight.
Sometimes the bold leader isn’t always the loudest person in the room or the most animated. If you pay close attention, the bold leader may just be the person who is watching and waiting for the right time to strike.