15Five Leadership Advice

Don’t Fall Off The Cliff! Advice From Leaders Who Know

By David Mizne

When I think back to every moment someone mentioned “being realistic,” I’ve actually realized, that it is merely an expression of fear of failure. Being realistic purely shows that you believe something can’t be done.

~ Leo Widrich, Buffer

Ever see the cartoon where the coyote chases the roadrunner off the cliff? The two of them hang there in mid-air until the roadrunner points downward. The coyote only falls when he looks and realizes that there is nothing beneath his feet.

The leader of any pack can’t look down. But they don’t have to find the right road to travel alone.

Unlike Wile E. Coyote, we live in an age where we can learn from the mistakes of others. We can seek the advice that supports our vision and learn from the failures and successes of those who came before us.

We’ve compiled an arsenal of bite-sized advice and put it into a handy eBook for you –click the link to get the full version for free: The Little Book of Workplace Wisdom: 101 Leadership Lessons You Can Actually Use. For a taster, we’ve pulled out a few of our favorites on what fearless leadership looks like, so when you get to the edge of the cliff, the ground doesn’t have to drop out.

However many times you fail — as long as you have your passion, you will always succeed.

~ Ben Way, The Rainmakers

Failure is not a bad thing. When people make informed decisions and take risks that don’t always work out, they will learn something extremely valuable about the customer-base, the marketplace, or maybe about the extent of their own skills and abilities. Without the risk, there is no reward. Even if that reward comes in the form of a lesson that will transform the next risk into a triumph.

You have to be true to who you are in a way that helps you achieve your goals. For me that meant being open about my opinions and taking stands when I thought they were important. I think more people should take the time to identify what’s unique about them and to use it.

~ Lisa Barone, Overit

We call this living in your zone of genius. People can have many skills and interests, but we all have just one or two abilities that are our superpowers. It could be writing, analyzing data, or software development — something that we do better than almost anyone else. Leaders do not just discover this for themselves, they distinguish and identify these traits in others.

Your job is to create a vision, a culture, to get the right people on the bus, and to inspire. When you look around at a team that believes in the vision as much as you do and trusts you will do the right thing all the time, it’s a feeling that can’t be explained.

~ Paul DeJoe, Ecquire

Every business began as someone’s dream, a great idea that persisted in the mind of an entrepreneur until they had no choice but to implement it. People, often with the best of intentions, will not always be able to see your vision as clearly as you can.

In fact, our Lead Developer recently shared that when he began programming the 15Five application, he did not really see its value or have faith in the future of the product. It was faith in the leadership of the company, faith in their bigger vision they held, that kept him going until the day he that he was building something of tangible value, backed up with a massively growing customer base.

People believe in the leader as well as the vision, but they sometimes lose faith. Courage can be developed through the repeated confrontation of what frightens us and the inspiring words and actions of a true leader.

Always trust your gut. Always.

~ David Sifry, Technorati

There will always be people whispering in your ear or even shouting at you that it cannot be done. Don’t listen to those people. Be diligent and data focused and do your research. In the end each entrepreneur will have to decide for his or herself what is the correct course of action. That takes courage, decisiveness, and the priceless advice of other fearless leaders.

Photo Credit: Kenneth Lu

What is the scariest moment that you have ever encountered in business? Share your story in the comments below.

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