90% of the problems that leaders face, and their subsequent solutions, are ambiguous, according to a study done by Korn Ferry/Lominger. To deal with this ambiguity requires spaciousness in thinking and being. It is not about always having the answer and proving to be the smartest person in the room. Rather, it requires having humility and respect for the responsibility of creating an environment where people can learn to  think, innovate and problem solve successfully while navigating through the unknown.

With great leadership there is the ability to be with silence, to ask questions that come genuinely from curiosity and to listen. There is the profound willingness to be wrong and to set aside prejudice and bias no matter how uncomfortable this may feel in order that the best solutions may be found.

Great leaders have an inherent belief in those who surround them. They work to be the catalyst that allows for the collective wisdom of the group to emerge. There is an understanding that one person rarely, if ever, finds the best outcomes. Courageous leaders know that it is the synergy of divergent minds that creates something that no one person could do alone. And yet, they also accept the burden of their responsibility and know that it is they, who after facilitating and listening to all the input, must make the final decisions and take responsibility for the subsequent results.

Someone somewhere has allowed every great leader to experience this and that is how and why they are able to do it for others. Such leadership requires a clear inner compass and  teaches something profound: Courage, which given the velocity and volume of change in our world today, is a critical success factor for any leader.

 6 Things That Courageous Leaders Never Fail To Do:

  1. Invite opposing points of view
  2. Listen more than they talk
  3. Ask questions that teach people to think and catalyze solutions
  4. Keep their ego and need to be right in check
  5. Tell their teams explicitly that they have confidence in them
  6. Take responsibility for their decisions

Sheila Madden is CEO of Madden Coaching & Consulting.  She is an executive and career coach, author and organization effectiveness consultant.