10 Habits of Fearless Leaders



Leadership is a habit, not knowledge you can get from a book. It is a daily practice that you cultivate, hone and refresh. Fearless leaders share a few core practices that make them truly great “Fearless Leaders” (and I’ve included links to related articles if you want to know more):

  1. Daily Exercise. Let’s face it, your body is your instrument no matter what you do. When you don’t feel good, you can’t bring your best leadership to the game. We all know we should exercise – fearless leaders do it daily without fail. Movement is enough – walk, run, bike, do yoga at your desk. For better results, try high intensity intervals that can fit in any busy schedule and have great benefits with a very small investment of time – and it’s fun! It goes without saying that other self-care (sleep, eating something that grew out of the ground, not drinking too much) are equally important. (A Way to Get Fit and Also Have Fun)
  2. Daily Reflection. How do you know if you are doing well? Each day taking a few minutes to self-assess for what went well, what didn’t and how you are progressing toward your goals is an invaluable tool for self-awareness and personal growth. Fearless leaders make this a conscious daily habit and write it down. (How Leaders Become Self-Aware)
  3. Daily Celebration. No matter how tough your days have been, there are always bright spots.  Taking the time to appreciate things you did well, or even celebrating your courage in tackling things that were very hard for you, helps build a healthy self-esteem and gives you a sense of progress and accomplishment even when everything isn’t going well. (Take Baby Steps for Small, Daily Wins)
  4. Cultivating a Strong Center. Building a mental and emotional reserve for stressful moments, days or even weeks is as critical as keeping your physical body in good repair. As little as 10 minutes a day of meditation helps attention span, cognitive ability, emotional regulation and sense of well-being (The Science Behind Meditation, and Why It Makes You Feel Better).  If you do it for just 3 weeks, 10 minutes a day, you reset your base level of happiness to a higher level. Who wouldn’t want those benefits for just a few minutes a day? Fearless leaders take advantage of this and make it a daily practice.   [clickToTweet tweet=”Check out these 10 Habits of Fearless Leaders. #leadership via @leadfearlessly” quote=”Meditating for as little as 10 minutes a day can help your attention span and cognitive ability. “]
  5. Continual Feedback (giving and receiving). Without feedback, we don’t learn. We know what is working or not by measuring results. Sometimes we don’t see ourselves as clearly as others see us, and we need to ask those around us how we are doing to collect data on our own impact on others. (Find the Coaching in Criticism(Find the Coaching in Criticism) At the same time, we need to be regularly giving others feedback on how we see them, to help them develop as well. (The Delicate Art of Giving Feedback) Learning to be a master of giving and receiving feedback is a fearless leadership habit.
  6. Continuous Learning. Fearless Leaders know that leadership development is a journey, not a destination, and that one never “arrives” at being a great leader with the ability to rest on ones’ laurels. Great leaders are the ones who know that they don’t have it all figured out and that they can learn from anyone anywhere and who seek out new perspectives, knowledge and feedback to continue on their growth path throughout their lives. (The Best Leaders are Insatiable Learners) Reading or listening to audio books is a great place to start. Let me know if you’d like our latest rec.
  7. Mastering Fear. A core tenet of fearless leadership is recognizing the fear that tries to drive our decisions and actions, and making a conscious choice to use that information for our self-awareness, but not to drive our actions in that moment. Fearless leaders know they have fears, they can name them, and they work to shift the thinking that sustains fear. One of my my favorite leadership professors shares the dangers of not recognizing and mastering your fears: (From Hero to Zero – When Leaders Turn Bad).   [clickToTweet tweet=”10 Habits of Fearless Leaders. #leadership via @leadfearlessly” quote=”Fearless leaders know they have fears and they work to shift the thinking that sustains them. “]
  8. Big Picture Alignment. Fearless leaders are strategic thinkers who are daily aligning to their vision and current strategies. They have a clear destination, and are always aware of where they are on the path, and what the most important initiatives for them are at any given moment. Because their vision is clear, it is easier to know which new ideas or shifts in the marketplace are worth pursuing, so they make decisions more readily. (Strategy Questions Every Leader Should Make Time For)
  9. Daily Prioritization. We all have the same 24 hours in each day, and fearless leaders just seem to get more accomplished.  Keeping the big picture in front of them, they make conscious decisions each day about how to spend their time, and make written commitments to focus on the few highest priority items today.  Their lists of 100+ items to do shrinks to the top 3 for right now, and only when those are complete do they pick more things to tackle. (How to Allocate Your Time, and Your Effort)
  10. Consciously Building Network. No one succeeds alone. Fearless leaders know that they are not islands, but individual leaders who are only as strong as the influence they wield, and that influence is driven by networks.  It is not only the powerful who belong in your network, but anyone you can help or who can help you, in even the smallest ways.  Focus first on how you can help others, and others will be drawn to help you.  Fearless leaders are always giving in ways that are immediately fulfilling to them, and have longer term benefits in unexpected ways. (The Right (and Wrong) Way to Network)
So, which of the 10 Habits would you like to develop right away? I know I’ve thought of actions I need to take on almost every one, and I’ll start today working on the most impactful for me: going and getting some exercise!