In 1776, the colonists in the British American Colonies were unhappy. So unhappy, that they formed a Continental Congress which suggested Declaring Independence from Great Britain. 56 men signed the document, and in doing so publicly announced that they were declaring treason on Great Britain.
That is bold.
Most of them lost their families and many lost their fortunes, largely because of that decision and the decisions that followed.
That is bold.
But none were bolder than John Hancock, who signed his name largely and proudly on that document — a signature that became so famous that his name is now used to denote a signature in the United States.
I could site other historical examples, but I cite Hancock because today is the anniversary of his birth.
Today, much is made, correctly I might add, of the leader who strives for consensus, who engages his employees, who, it could be said, leads from the group. There is great value in these leadership talents and behaviors, yet they led to a potential risk as well.
When all decisions are made or confirmed in meetings, when everyone has a say in every situation, you will almost always get safe, conventional, traditional decisions. You won’t get boldness.
Someone has to say, “Enough negotiating, we need to declare independence.”
Someone has to say, “We aren’t going to make a better horse carriage, we are going to make an automobile.”
Someone has to say, “People will want the internet on their phone.”
Someone has to say, “It is time for a new direction, a new vision, it’s time for something bold.”
This is a part of the leader’s role. If you aren’t willing or feel unable to make a bold statement of vision or to decide on a new course of action, you aren’t leading.
Does that mean the best leader is an autocrat, relying solely on their own vision, bombastically making bold decisions every day?
Not at all.
Salt makes your food taste better, but that doesn’t mean you keep putting more of it on (at least if you want to eat the food).
Boldness must be included in your leadership style and approach, and it will be most effective and valued when it is a balanced part of who you are as a leader.
Ways to exercise your boldness are for another day and another article. For today, consider these five questions:
What was my last bold act, decision or statement as a leader?
When was that?
How comfortable was I with that action?
What results came from it?
What do my answers to those questions teach me about my future?
And finally, for today, consider Mr. Hancock, who was not only willing to sign, but sign proudly, largely, and boldly.
What bold thing will you do today?