Written by Adele Hall, NOC Director

I read somewhere over the last few weeks that pandemics are equalisers, allowing us to pin-point what’s not working, as well as serving as a starting point to scale and innovate.

There is so much going on that is in our circles of concern- beyond our influence and spending more time worrying about that which we cannot control steals our joy and eats our energy.

So why not take a moment and focus on something we can control, can influence, and ask ourselves, what kind of leader am I being during this time of great uncertainty? I hope that the answer to that question, if only in part, is a courageous leader who will lead through these times of uncertainty.

The wise tell us that Courage is a core component of Leadership. It may very well separate effective leaders from ineffective leaders. What then is courageous leadership?There are many definitions to draw on, but one that resonates with me is the following: A courageous a leader is a leader who has influence and can effectively motivate a group to act towards achieving a common goal because they have mental and moral strength and will persevere and withstand danger despite their fears and the difficulty of the challenge.With this definition in mind, do you see many examples of this in play around you? Can you call to mind a leader who lives and leads in this way? Are you this leader?

“Courageous leaders are in high demand and short supply these days.”—Forbes

If leading from courage is not difficult enough, we’re now being called to be courageous leaders in uncertain times. Never in my 52-years have times been more uncertain than they are right now. This being at a personal, as well as professional level. If I have never or not very often led with courage when things we relatively good, I am now being called to lead from courage during times of great uncertainty, COVID-19.

It’s easier to be a courageous leader when times are good, but to be called on to be a courageous leader when times are tumultuous, when my business, my family and loved ones are depending on me to navigate them through these dire times, this is another matter altogether. Yet, in my experience, some of our greatest opportunities for growth and personal development comes from the edge. The lesson from the edge now is how to be a courageous leader who can lead through these times of great uncertainty.

As I stand with my tippy toes, on the edge, my hand is up to learn the lessons of courageous leadership in these uncertain times for I want to emerge an enhanced version of myself, for we will come through this time of COVID-19. What we do in the interim will separate the effective from the ineffective.

The place to start is with MINDSET. Nothing changes until the way we see the world changes. We are what we think and believe. What is the mindset of a courageous leader?

1. Believe in Yourself Without Limits – See yourself as bold and you will behave boldly

You are literally as courageous as you think you are.It is shown that those who see themselves as courageous respond to fear-inducing events more boldly than those who do not see themselves as courageous. This does not mean that you do not have to prepare for events that require your courage, but it does mean that the more you do it, the better you get at it. Bold people are just ordinary people who have activated their courage an extraordinary number of times.

2. Keep Worry at Bay – Engage in purposeful actions

Keep your worries in perspective.Worrying constantly and staying on high alert will not help you override fear and it will impede your development as a courageous leader. In fact, high-alert behaviour will make you more fearful. Worry can destroy your ability to lead effectively because it drains valuable energy, takes away needed focus, causes fatigue and stress, and steals joy.Engaging in actions that can make a difference for others. Fearlessly focusing on the work that matters most, can help you keep your worries at bay and develop the courage you need to succeed.

3. Be Optimistic – Watch your self-talk

Maintain an optimistic outlook even when things do not look or feel good.

According to Debbie Ford, author of Courage: Overcoming Fear & Igniting Self-Confidence, “When you are not complete with the past, you drag it around with you wherever you go, using it as a reference point for who you are, for what you think, for what you believe, and for the choices you make.” We can be our own worst enemy, our self-talk is predominantly negative and hence self-fulfilling. We’re called to let go of the patterns that hold us hostage and keep us from conquering new challenges and learn the vital lessons from the edge.With the ideal growth mindset in mind, what is your current mindset in this regard? Which of the three mindsets above would need most work? What would happen if you did nothing?

I urge you, as I do myself, during these times of lockdown and great uncertainty, watch your thoughts, check your mindset. Begin the journey of self-transformation by working on developing a new mindset that enables you to lead with courage through uncertain times, in particular now.To all the courageous leaders who are currently leading us through this time of great uncertainty, we thank you. Our prayers are with you.

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