The Role of Leadership in Managing Risk

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She was an successful leader in charge of a large global team, revered but also feared. Her success had not come overnight but after great challenges and enormous difficulties.

When I met her in her office she was negative, cynical and angry, so edgy and tense and defensive it was hard to talk to her. I had been hired as her coach to help her.

In time, she was able to overcome the marks of her troubling journey. But to do so, she had to face an element of risk: letting go of her familiar defenses and opening herself to the possibility of change.

We are not born into cynicism, anger, tension, or defensiveness. They arise in response to the circumstances of our lives. To be effective as leaders, we have to work through and move beyond those acquired traits, to alter our responses.

We have to risk being changed.

To change our negativity, we must ask ourselves how it serves us. If you expect the worst, you’ll never be disappointed. A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, but an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. the choice is ours.

To change our cynicism, we must ask ourselves where it originates. Cynicism sometimes masquerades as wisdom. Because cynics are afraid they will get hurt or be disappointed, they cut to the chase and they say no before anything bad can happen. But no keeps us closed off. Saying yes begins things and gives them room to grow. Saying yes leads to knowledge.

To change our edginess, we must ask ourselves what’s stressing us. In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to remember that feelings are just as important as thinking. Under stress, we can train ourselves to go in either direction—toward the positive or the negative.

To change our anger, we must ask ourselves what’s angering us. It is wise to direct your anger toward problems, not people, and to focus your energies on answers, not excuses. Anger is usually a feeling that makes our mouths work faster than our minds, and then we regret it.

To change our tension, we must ask ourselves if our agitation is making us unworkable. When we lead with anxiety we are allowing the pressure of the job to take over. In so doing, we risk leaving destructive marks on those around us.

To be changed, we have to weigh what has happened to us against what is happening within us.

It is hard to stay grounded when you feel the ground has been pulled from underneath you. But leadership is a challenge that dares us to study ourselves, at every nook and cranny, every black hole and bright spot, whether it’s murky, creepy, splendid, spooky, frightening, joyful, inspiring or wrathful—and then to have the courage to address and change the things that aren’t serving us well.

Lead From Within: To risk changing ourselves we must look within ourselves and find what is confused and what is brilliant, what is bitter and what is sweet. When we do, it isn’t just ourselves that we’re discovering, but everyone and everything.

 


 

N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Additional Reading you might enjoy:

 

Photo Credit: Getty Images


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.

40 Responses to “The Role of Leadership in Managing Risk”

  1. Roger Laidig

    31. Mar, 2015

    Another powerful article Lolly! You speak well to the risk of change.

    At the same time, while it is counter-intuitive, is it an equally great risk to be unwilling to change?

    Well done with your article.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Panteli Tritchew

    31. Mar, 2015

    “We are not born into cynicism, anger, tension, or defensiveness. They arise in response to the circumstances of our lives. “

    I sometimes wonder if our consciousness can be likened to those Russian dolls, nested with alternating layers of insight and suffering in an endless struggle for supremacy, each striving to surface to our consciousness, the final doll, our wounded child hiding at the deepest level.

    “But leadership is a challenge that dares us to study ourselves, at every nook and cranny, every black hole and bright…”

    The courtship of self-examination is a deep and painful romance. Unless we enter it, suffering shapes our life’s template, and our outer adult is ruled by our inner child. When we enter this courtship, mindfully and from the heart, we can shift from shame to shaman.

    Warm and grateful thoughts, Lolly.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      31. Mar, 2015

      So true…

      The courtship of self-examination is a deep and painful romance.

      But worth the journey.

      Thanks for stopping by and lending us an ear filled with prose.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  3. John Paul

    01. Apr, 2015

    I am reminded of the Buddha story when he was sitting under a tree and looked within for enlightenment. The demons challenged him, asking him what gave him the right to attain such wisdom.

    He turned his hand down and touched the ground. That was his witness of right. He grounded himself when others might have thought there was no ground.

    Thank you Lolly for helping me face my own fears, overcoming them by finding my ground .

    Reply to this comment
    • Steven Herron

      16. Apr, 2015

      John Paul, I too thought of Buddha. And then of yoga. It is through my yoga practice that I show myself to me (paraphrasing a Jackson Browne lyric.)
      Knowing we have these things that need to be changed and even facing the risk of the change is easy compared to knowing or realizing how to change. I find many of those answers through the singularity of thought yoga provides me.

      Thank you Lolly for making us aware.

      Reply to this comment
  4. Sandy

    02. Apr, 2015

    Great post! I agree that if we are to be great leaders, we sometimes have to move past pre-conditioned emotions that are triggered by events outside of ourselves. I know that mindfulness is making its way into Corporate America and I’m seeing the difference in leaders who take the time to meditate vs. those who do not. They are not easily triggered by drama, upset, etc. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply to this comment
  5. Ajay Kumar Gupta

    04. Apr, 2015

    Dear Lolly,
    Really a insightful post. It is difficult to remain grounded when ground beneath is pulled out. I appreciate your statement- when we expect the worst, we never be disappointed. It is so true. I also feel that many times when seek answers, we start exploring. And in the process we learn lot of things. We enjoy journey. There are others, who have all the answers. They do not enjoy the journey. I appreciate your point that life is in present. Many times, we are much worried about future and get frustrated. And interestingly, many of things that bother us do not come on the way. We need to face fear courageously. Some element of fear is good but when fear dominates us, problem starts surfacing.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Mattias Hansen

    16. Apr, 2015

    Thank you Lolly 🙂
    This is acctually something I allso have noticed and it was joyfull to see that Iam not alone 🙂
    Have experienced this in a radicall way and have a belive in God and Iam AMAZED how He continues to guide me futher in life 🙂
    God Bless you

    Reply to this comment
  7. Dr. Caprica Wells

    14. Jul, 2015

    We are not born into cynicism, anger, tension, or defensiveness. They arise in response to the circumstances of our lives. To be effective as leaders, we have to work through and move beyond those acquired traits, to alter our responses.

    Powerful statement that resonates and helps remind me why we respond the way we do. This creates our personal and professional leadership profile…powerful!

    Reply to this comment
  8. Dr. Caprica Wells

    14. Jul, 2015

    We are not born into cynicism, anger, tension, or defensiveness. They arise in response to the circumstances of our lives. To be effective as leaders, we have to work through and move beyond those acquired traits, to alter our responses.

    Powerful statement that resonates and helps remind me why we respond the way we do. This is how we create our personal and professional leadership profile…powerful!

    Reply to this comment
  9. Ahmed

    22. Nov, 2015

    Every article I read can change my thought but I can’t change ny actions with people. I just want to know How ?

    Reply to this comment
  10. Name (required)

    20. Dec, 2015

    You are a sucsess women! Take a hollyday..

    Reply to this comment
  11. WAQAS

    29. May, 2016

    well explained the true “fear of change” which does not lies outside instead it exist within us

    Reply to this comment
  12. Daniel Paul

    01. Nov, 2016

    its insightful. thanks dear.

    Reply to this comment
  13. Thomas nganda

    16. Jan, 2017

    Truly a blessing Lolly….

    Reply to this comment
  14. Henrik

    25. Sep, 2017

    Excellent points. I think that we would do wisely in starting with facing the risk of the biggest change:
    If we adopt an open mindset and start out by seeing the possibility of being changed as an opportunity rather than a risk, I think that we have given ourselves a good starting point.
    Change – at least positive change – often comes as the outcome of situations when we become wiser – and if we have an open mind, we accept the possibility of becoming wiser and changing for the better.

    Reply to this comment

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