Operating at the leading edge, forging forward into the exciting unknown can be a thrilling experience, a real opportunity for learning, development and discovery. At the same time it is the place of greatest risk, the place of greatest potential cost if we get it wrong. That’s the mark of courageous leadership – taking the risk, seizing the opportunity, stepping outside of our comfort zones to discover what’s possible, ready to bleed if our best efforts fail.
I was amused by a colleague yesterday who spoke of this phenomenon as ‘living at the bleeding edge’. We’re involved in a team leading an international NGO through a potentially radical strategy and change process. I can feel my own excitement and anxiety, the opportunity to contribute something that could really add value and yet, at the same time, nagging fears about whether I’ll prove good enough, whether the outcomes will achieve what we’re hoping for.
It’s at this point where I’m reminded most of my profound need for God’s grace, to give me courage to step into the unknown, to inspire with wisdom, to become more than I thought possible, to brace myself against my worst fears and to trust him if all else fails. I’m learning by this experience that the courageous leader is not the one who lacks fear but the one who overcomes fear by doing what’s right in spite of that fear. May God help me to be that leader.
Nick is a freelance coach, trainer and OD consultant specialising in reflective practice.