“You will fail more from timidity, procrastination, and carefulness.” These are some of the powerful words from one of the world’s most highly respected keynote speakers and authors on human potential, Margie Warrell. Warrell is also a writer for Forbes and founder of Global Courage. Part of her leadership coaching focuses on seizing opportunities, expanding visions, and living boldly. She embodies the courageous mindset all leaders should aim for.

Fear has been called a mental poison because once it sets itself in your mind. You slowly become arrested and held back. It leads to feelings of helplessness and of being inferior, discouragement, and even despair.

Unfortunately, this kind of leadership will affect everyone in your team including people you and your team have to work with like suppliers, clients, and people in authority. As the leader of a group, you have a responsibility to your team members but you also have to be accountable to top management or investors. A fearful mindset will affect your behavior and your work as a leader. It will stop you from fighting for your team, procrastinate, prevent you from trying new methods and technology, or cause you to lose good workers because they feel they are not growing under your leadership.

According to Murray Furlong of UK Learning Solutions, team leaders can be aware of negativity within their team but prefer not to confront it for any of several reasons:

• Fear of being embarrassed or shamed
• Worry that productivity might suffer if the negativity is brought out in the open
• Uncertainty of being able to solve the issues
• Lack of confidence with their leadership skills
• Laziness and not interested in solving the internal grievances of team members
• Disinterest in “airing out dirty laundry” and earning a poor reputation as a leader
• Figure that the problems will resolve themselves

The kind of negativity that can stall a team from producing its best work can be addressed if the leader develops and sustains a courageous mindset.

What is a Courageous Mindset?
Mindset is defined by Carol Dweck, a Stanford University psychologist, as a simple belief that can make a world of a difference. There are two kinds of mindsets: fixed and growth.
Fixed mindset refers to thinking that your talent and intelligence are good enough while growth mindset refers to the thinking that you can develop your basic abilities and become a better person through hard work and determination.

Courageous mindset is growth mindset – or a willingness to look and work beyond what you already have: position, intelligence, experience, training, and skills. This is the leader who is not content with having high intelligence or exemplary talent – he or she forges ahead to improve even more. In a nutshell, courageous growth mindset is what Alfred Binet, the person who invented the IQ test, has said time and again: that those who are the smartest don’t always end up as the smartest.

Next, we will look at How to Develop a Courageous Mindset, stay tuned for my next blog post.