Navigating the Line Between Brash and Bold
Boldness ruins fools.
Boldness doesn’t answer leadership issues. It causes many. But,
“Freedom lies in being bold.” Robert Frost
The line between brash and bold is:
Unskilled leaders with boldness get into more trouble than timid.
- Visit the what-could-go-wrong office, but don’t camp there. Prudence asks, “What could go wrong?” Boldness asks, “Where can we make progress?” Blind boldness destroys. Wise boldness prepares.
- Filter suggestions and criticisms through the lense of what matters. “How much does this matter?” Distraction ruins boldness, but foolish boldness ignores others.
- Know boldness without persistence is bravado. Brash begins. Boldness finishes.
- Move toward quick wins while keeping the finish line in mind. Boldness moves toward opportunities. Brash just talks.
- Choose what not to do, at least for now. Postpone if you can’t eliminate.
- Build alliances.
- Create diversity.
Boldness whispers, “Move out.”
Caution yells, “Stay put.”
Reasonable preparation answers both.
Growth and boldness:
Growth requires boldness. You grow on the fringes of discomfort where shadows of uncertainty lurk. Boldness whispers, “Step toward the edge.” Uncertainty is the hammer of growth. Boldness takes you there.
Belief and boldness:
Boldness without belief is delusion.
Don’t pressure yourself into boldness. Find reasonable grounds to believe you can find answers, solve problems, and move forward. Keep belief on a short leash. Don’t point it to the distant future. Point it toward today.
Leadership and boldness:
Leaders instill boldness in others when they:
- Start with trust.
- Connect tasks with purpose.
- Stand with those who screw up. Loyalty builds boldness.
- Acknowledge tough challenges. Leaders who ignore hard truths create uncertainty.
- Clarify the path ahead.
- Trumpet their intentions.
- Practice candor with kindness.
- Treat people with equity.
- Say, “Go for it,” and mean it.
- Bring people together.
The privilege of leadership is inspiring boldness.
I was working with a very experienced COO yesterday, and my team and I debriefed afterwards… what made her so amazing. What differentiated her from some of the other leaders we know. She was bold, but calm. Calm and poised amplifies bold statements.
Hi Karin. Wow! Your addition is gold. Bold but calm.
This is a great add.. especially in negotiation, calm is strong, calm steers the rate and pace.
Kinda sounds like the difference between enthusiasm and stupidity!!!!
Sometimes a razor thin line!!!!
Yes I speak once again of my own experience!! Hehe
I say just “GO”!!!
Fall flat on your face, made a complete idiot out of yourself, piss off and turn off people at every turn!!
Know what you call that? A great start!!!
As time goes along if you do not become an epic whimp and you keep trudging along you will get better!!
Find a great bold hero to model and just put it out there.
If you want it bad enough, set your intention clear enough all the skills and talent will be added to you.
There is no more important feeling to burn into your heart head and soul then these three words, a burning desire!!
If you have that you will keep going, yes persist until you succeed!!
If you are to fail, fail mightily!! Dust yourself off, connect again with your white hot burning desire and go again!!!
Winners fail their way to the top, ask one!!! Quitters never win, winners never quit!
Last realize most people, sorry but true, are quitters and average. If you want more than that for yourself realize most people are not going to be supportive. Your success reminds them they are quitters.
Two paths in the woods, I chose the one less traveled and that made all the difference.
Have a great day Dan.
Thanks Scott. I’m a “just go” person, too. But, I lead people who don’t have the same temperament — thankfully. The joy and challenge of leadership is finding boldness when the room is filled with different kinds of people.
ah yes. the dreaded talk I was hoping you’d avoid! lol I do appreciate the fresh look at boldness. life is a very situational thing. the more situations that we can plot the patterns of, the better choices we get. sweet post FREAK! thanks Dan.
I like how the site re-design is coming along. Bold but not brash 🙂
I think early on, it takes a lot of courage to be bold, especially to above you in the organization. However, over time, people who worked hard to build the courage to be bold later seem to forget that boldness should not be used all the time, but situationally, and as necessary only. Exuming boldness too often or doing so while disregarding manners and respect comes across as being brash and overbearing.
Wonder if #7 is more about Collaborations than Friendships. While, absolutely, friendships can make processes move more quickly, there may be some folks who may not fit into the friendship category that are still respected and that you would want to collaborate with.
And with your Leadership & Boldness #3…if you are the leader–> if there was a screw up, it’s yours. If someone else screwed up, it’s still yours. If a process failed,still yours. If training failed, hey, guess what, it’s on your watch. Perhaps not just stand “with”, but “take immediate ownership of failures”.
Here’s to the ongoing evolution of LF…had to chuckle, on my browser, your back seems to have an orange LF angel wing popping out of your shoulder…only half of you is angelic…. 😉
Bold leaders consider possibilities outside the familiar that could lead to new and better. But as you note – a bold leader must follow through. Anyone can provide ideas – it takes a bold leader to be willing to take the appropriate risks and do the work necessary to make it happen. Bold must also be brave – to face the criticism, the resistance, and persevere through the difficult times to achieve a better result.
I’ve found that sometimes bold when especially right stand alone until the rest see the light and catch up or those who don’t choose to do the right fall away. Being bold can be rewarding in the end but lonely in the beginning..
It’s the “brash” part that both turns people off toward leaders and makes other hesitate at the idea of being a leader. For two years, I mentored a young woman who is one of the best potential leaders I’ve ever known; but she had held back from seeking a leadership role because she didn’t want come across as arrogant and cocky like other “leaders” (in name only) that she has seen in action. We had the brash-to-bold discussion (not as well-put as yours, though, Dan); and that distinction made all the difference in the world for her.
She has recently been promoted to a supervisory position (which is a two-level jump in title and pay).
WOW great new look, I always find myself in trouble, needed this one for sure ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ what can I say, never too old to learn.
Thanks Rick. I frequently pray for better control of my emotions. Happiness truly is a state of mind and a mindful choice. I believe happiness creates an enviroment for positivity. However some of lifes valleys make it tough to muster the strength, courage, and wisdom to remain humble and happy.
I’m with you on prayer, SGT Steve. It’s key to the ills of our country, our communities, our families, our children, our organizations, our decisions, and our peace of our soul–so say the great thinkers from Einstein to our Lord Jesus. The Living Voice in the bible tells us life is simple, and should be kept simple–but is not easy. Blessings B2U!
Again, Dan, I see a common but brilliantly distinct theme in your last three posts…mentoring, graceful boldness, and the distinction between being bold vs. brash: Happiness, and the qualities therein of leaders.
I know it sounds simple or even silly, but a great character virtue is to be happy. Happiness is the secret motive of all we do and of all we are willing to endure. Plato once freaked Socrates out by telling him: “Be joyful and happy: It’s one way of being wise.”
Socrates then asked, “What does happiness have to do with wisdom?”
“The reason people find it so hard to be happy is they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be,” Plato answered.
“When we feel good, we have done good; when we feel bad, we’ve done bad. A bad man is hard on others and easy on himself: A good man is easy on others and hard on himself. Our job is not to make a unhappy man happy, rather keep a happy man happy. Our greatest gift is redeeming, inspiring, liberating, and nurturing the gifts of others. This means we must accept the fact we do not have all the right answers, and have the courage to ask all the right questions.”
Everything happens for a reason: People change so we can learn to let go, things go wrong so we learn to appreciate them when they’re right. And, good things fall apart so better things can fall together.
This is excellant and as you know SO timely. Asking yourself what really matters, or what’s the end result I’m looking for keeps your thoughts and actions from becoming negative. My current situation screams for answers and justification. I’ve never been one to “sit on the dock waiting for my ship to come in”. I could remain silent and patient but I find myself asking “if I don’t who will, and if nobody does how can we expect positive change to occur. I feel like I’m at the verge of great opportunity only to watch it slip through my fingers. If it is true that we grow through discomfort and disappointment I should concider purchasing a new wardrobe. After consulting my trusted inner circle my next step remains blured by doubt and confusion. I find myself questioning the authenticity of others commitment, support, and honesty. What do you do to encourage others to answer your tough questions with compassionate honesty?
“Don’t pressure yourself into boldness” is great advice and plays well with graceful boldness as you discussed in the last post. If it is not natural then it most likely won’t work and may just be awkward.
Thanks Alex, “Good advice”!