The life of a modern leader brings challenges of leading, innovating, motivating, growing, developing, evaluating, communicating, and risking.
And here’s a fact: You can’t do any of those things very well within your comfort zone. The end of your comfort zone is where your leadership begins.
It’s challenging to move beyond your comfort zone—that’s how it got its name!
There’s something very comforting in using a limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk.
We experience tasks and routines that are so familiar, or that we’re so good at, that we don’t have to think twice about them.
But effective leaders know that leading from their comfort zone means they’re not learning, growing, developing, or getting results.
Ready to go beyond? Here are some thoughts to guide you:
Be smart and challenge yourself. Leaders are so used to motivating and empowering others that they often forget they need to challenge themselves as much as they challenge others. Smart leaders challenge everything—(especially) themselves.
Be fearless and challenge the vision. When the organizational vision is not defined or doesn’t fit, you lose sight of where you are going. Leaders demonstrate courage when they work with others define and articulate the organization’s vision so everyone can be aligned with purpose.
Be daring and challenge the organization. Restructuring, remodeling, reorganization are all necessary for an organization to stay aligned in times of change. Leaders demonstrate daring when they’re willing to let go of control and preconceived notions.
Be heroic and challenge the stakeholders. Every organization is lead by people and relationships are critical, but often one or more stakeholders are holding back the organization. Leaders who demonstrate heroism take risks in gaining buy-in from the important relationships within the organization.
Be innovative and challenge best practices. Each organization has its own processes and best practices. Innovative leaders are constantly challenging the “this is how we do it” mindset and keep aiming higher.
Be strong and challenge the culture. Every organization has a culture, but to be its best it must be intentionally formed and fostered. Strong leaders build strong cultures.
Be bold and challenge the talent. Developing, growing, and cultivating talent are among the most important components innovation and success—if you want creativity and productivity, you have to build a great team. Bold leaders know that greatness is never achieved inside a small, familiar circle.
The best leaders understand that every improvement comes with stepping out of comfort zone, because for most things to change they have to be challenged.
Lead From Within: Leaders who lead beyond their comfort zone take stands. They take responsibility. They seize opportunities to make things better. They challenge things to make improvements. They take risks to create change.
© 2014 Lolly Daskal. All rights reserved.
Painting by: Charnina
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.