Safe, predictable, tried and true – while these words might put your mind at ease, stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something a little risky can pay off in a big way.
In business, there are times when you need to make a bold move and times when playing it safe is the right course. The key is learning which risks are worth the gamble.
Trust Your Employees. Some leaders fear giving employees too much freedom. Instead, they micromanage every task to prevent employees from ever making mistakes. For perfectionist managers, letting go of control is scary. If you struggle with delegating, step back, and evaluate how that affects your team.
According to the American Management Association, micromanaging discourages employees and kills creativity. Show some faith, and give your team a longer leash. If they fail, that’s okay. Resist the urge to reclaim control. Instead, let them grow in their roles. Taking chances on your team will lighten your load and empower your employees.
Give Credit. No manager is an island. Some leaders, however, seem to forget this notion whenever the boss or a top client is within earshot. They worry acknowledging others’ contributions will damage their reputation. But in reality, people value humble, team-oriented leaders over those who claim to do it all on their own.
While it’s great to compliment employees one-on-one, private remarks can’t replace public recognition. When team members play a significant role in making a project succeed, make sure you openly acknowledge their efforts.
Say “No.” Savvy leaders understand that sometimes “no” is the best answer – even when the pressure’s on to give the green light. Whether that means turning down a project or passing up a promotion, the ability to say “no” at the right times is just as important as knowing when to say “yes.”
Accepting every request that comes your way doesn’t do anyone a service – least of all you. Knowing your limits and understanding what’s right for you will prevent distractions from bogging you down. Take a risk, and say “no” when the time’s right – others will appreciate your honesty and your ability to take a stand.
Try Something New. “That’s the way we’ve always done things.” Who hasn’t heard this mantra repeated in the boardrooms and cubicles of their organization? Just because the ‘same old, same old’ is what people are comfortable with, doesn’t mean it’s the most effective way to get things done.
In a new book called, Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down, the authors discuss how naysayers can keep great ideas from ever launching. Imagine what the world would be like if leaders and inventors like Alexander Graham Bell or Henry Ford hadn’t pushed to see their visions become realities. We might still be relying on telegraphs and riding in horse-drawn carriages, respectively.
Successful managers know when to take chances and when to play it safe. Taking risks to courageously lead the pack is exactly the sort of thing top leaders are renowned for. So, step out of your comfort zone, and challenge the status quo.