Leadership Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone

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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.

Lolly Daskal is the president and founder of Lead From Within a consulting firm specializing in executive coaching and customized leadership programs Connect with Lolly Daskal

© 2014 Lolly Daskal. All rights reserved.

 

Additional Reading:

Become The Leader Worth Following

How Does EGO Edge Greatness Out

Courage Is The Key To Fearless Leadership

Leadership: Challenging The Status Quo

 

Painting by: Charnina

 

 

 


Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

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.

24 Responses to “Leadership Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone”

  1. Panteli Tritchew

    05. Aug, 2014

    A lot of what we do on a daily basis requires us to operate within our comfort zones, and that kind of Standard Operational Procedure is often necessary simply to get stuff done. Sometimes we fool ourselves and call this Leadership because of our job titles.

    You’ve captured the internal leadership dynamic wonderfully, Lolly: Leadership Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone. When we push our boundaries, our comfort zone grows, and when it grows, we grow.

    Reply to this comment
  2. LaRae Quy

    05. Aug, 2014

    Wow, Lolly! You and I are really on the same page with this one!

    Leaders will never move beyond mediocrity unless they have the mental strength to move beyond their comfort zone.

    Love this: “But effective leaders know that leading from their comfort zone means they’re not learning, growing, developing, or getting results.”

    So true, and thanks for reminding us!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Garren Fagaragan

    05. Aug, 2014

    Yes indeed Lolly…beyond the comfort zone.

    I agree…being bold, strong, innovative, heroic, daring, and fearless are required for those who forge through new territories for themselves and others.

    That’s why it is smart to challenge oneself…being eager to learn…then passing the knowledge and insights on to others…

    making a difference.

    Thanks for the post.

    I dig the painting by Charina.
    great selection for this post.

    Hope you’re having a great day…

    Reply to this comment
  4. Jon Stallings

    05. Aug, 2014

    Great topic Lolly, we so want to play it safe but it really is impossible to lead from that stance.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Terri Klass

    05. Aug, 2014

    Wonderful post Lolly and one that really challenges us to reflect on how we must pull aside our safety nets to grow substantially!

    I love your point that we are often helping empower others while not focusing on our next areas to thrive.

    Thanks for another insightful post!

    Reply to this comment
  6. David Brooks

    05. Aug, 2014

    I agree Lolly,
    Leadership does truly begin at the end of your comfort zone and I would like to add many other worth wile endeavors also begin at the end or edge of our comfort zone. I have learned through a life of travel, wonder and experiences ” some great and some not so great” that most of the time our comfort zone is fear of the unknown and limitations we place on ourself. So I say be smart and safe, but push yourself our of your comfort zone as much as possible and live life to the fullest!

    Truly inspiring comments!
    Thanks!

    Reply to this comment
  7. David Brooks

    05. Aug, 2014

    I agree Lolly,
    Leadership does truly begin at the end of your comfort zone and I would like to add many other worth wile endeavors also begin at the end or edge of our comfort zone. I have learned through a life of travel, wonder and experiences ” some great and some not so great” that most of the time our comfort zone is fear of the unknown and limitations we place on our self. So I say be smart and safe, but push yourself our of your comfort zone as much as possible and live life to the fullest!

    Truly inspiring comments!
    Thanks!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      05. Aug, 2014

      Dear David,

      I agree that what resides at the end of our comfort zone is much more than mentioned in this article. but I took the stand of the leader, who allows his or her organization to fall apart, because they are not brave, bold, or fearless enough to speak up.

      They need to know they can make a difference.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Appreciate your insights and wisdom

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
      • David Brooks

        05. Aug, 2014

        Always a pleasure reading and then commenting on your very insightful blog. I am a big fan! Looking forward to not only participating in your blog conversation, also reading your book is on my to do list. I have forwarded your web address to my son Ronnie who is serving in the US Navy Aboard the USS Mitscher (DDG 57). I am sure he will enjoy your insightful, positive, and uplifting message, as much as I do!

        Thank You Very Much!
        David Brooks

        Reply to this comment
  8. Bob Vanourek

    07. Aug, 2014

    Indeed, Lolly, leaders venture into the unknown. Thanks for your leadership.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Lolita Bostick

    08. Aug, 2014

    Many in body One in Mind could accomplish so much more ,If those with the control could only let go just for a moment . Allow new fresh talent to emerge and take everyone higher. Listen and Learn…Some leaders fear change so much they stagnate the growth of the organization ,holding on to “this is how we do it!”. When clearly people are not being served and growth is not amazing!

    very encouraging
    Thanks

    Reply to this comment
  10. Ram

    10. Aug, 2014

    Wow! what a definition for the leadership! All other attempts to describe the leadership is falling wayside.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Sunil Jogdeo

    11. Aug, 2014

    Hello Lolly, many times such write ups throw light on some great things we as leaders miss. Human is so naturally inclined to comfort zone and this makes him / her neglect the rich experience of discomfort. many organisation heads hesitate to open the issue of leadership within their teams due to their own weak links. They are much conservative one. The write up has come just in time for me as I am developing leadership training model for a client here. I have included `challenges` for NextGen leaders and `comfort` is one the contents.

    In my leadership design I am adding `mindfulness` as a key learning and attitude for leadership. May be you are the right person to judge its inclusion. I have some research work (informal) done on mindfulness and its impact on quality our actions.

    Thank you so much for the write up that has good value additions.

    regards

    sunil

    Reply to this comment
  12. Tony Stone

    03. Dec, 2014

    Thanks Lolly! As a leader it’s great to be reminded to take time to challenge and develop myself. Very motivating!

    Reply to this comment
  13. Wyatt

    05. Jan, 2016

    I have read so many content about the blogger lovers except this paragraph is
    actually a nice piece of writing, keep it up.

    Reply to this comment
  14. francesc Jara

    02. May, 2016

    I am totally agree with this article, but not only leaders should go beyond their comfort zone, also employees must show their compromise to go with them as far as they need, to bring innovation to the team.

    Reply to this comment
  15. Holadeji

    17. Aug, 2016

    Massive words and tipz to strengthen those that have the leadership passion.keep it up lolly daskal

    Reply to this comment

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