New to management? Seven steps to becoming a bold leader

Business Impact: New to management? Seven steps to becoming a bold leader
Business Impact: New to management? Seven steps to becoming a bold leader

A bold leader is a learner. It is someone who is consistent and dependable, who continuously works to be better, and helps others to reach their potential too.

A bold leader is someone who can build trusting, caring relationships and brings their passion and expertise to lead and inspire others, while always keeping an eye on the bigger picture and taking risks for the collective good.

Here are some tips to untap your potential and become a bold leader:

1. Active learning

Everything is a source of information and we can never learn enough. Whether it’s gaining a new coaching qualification, completing a course or team-building workshop, or taking the time to learn more about the people you work with, if you are thirsty to learn and improve as a leader, you will inspire your team to do the same, and build accountability and commitment into the foundations of your organisation.

Active learning also requires a great deal of critical self-reflection and belief. It demands that we ask important questions of our selves first, and others second, learning about yourself, your relationships, learning about who you are, what you want, and where you want to go by confronting yourself. If we can consciously build on all that we’ve learnt, and continue to ask how we can be better, we will be more likely to reach our potential as leaders.

2. Trust

Be aware of the dimension of trust. What is ‘trust’ for you? When do you trust? What are your relationships like when you put trust in them?

Being a bold leader depends heavily on flexing our trust muscles and empowering others to be their best selves as well. It also means trusting that other people’s greatness is part of the equation, and having the ability to let go of some of the control in order to work together.

If we surround ourselves with trustworthy people who are open to each other’s ideas and individual strengths, we can celebrate victories together without individual egos getting in the way.  

3. Take risks

Are we playing it safe or are we ‘all-in’ as leaders? To be bold leaders we need to stay awake to our environment, stay in service to it, and consistently ask what is required of us to make it better.

That means being responsive, taking personal risks for the collective good, even if it’s uncomfortable, and not shying away from responsibility.

4. Communicate

Listening and communicating is key to becoming a bold leader.

In order to get the best out of others and to find solutions as a team, we need to engage our power to listen and keep the conversation open so that we can welcome the diversity of opinions and perspectives that will make our organisations thrive.

We also need to speak up and be heard. Engaging in conversations can be very uncomfortable sometimes, especially when we don’t know if it can hurt other people, or if the outcomes are uncertain. However, as leaders we must learn to deal with that discomfort on a daily basis and be able to get the best out of confrontation. If we engage and communicate clearly, especially in critical moments or problem situations, our leadership will be honest and bold and our message will be received.

Leadership comes to life through your voice, so make sure that you are using it, and try to avoid detachment, or self-protective tendencies, that might confuse or stifle your voice.

5.  Passion

Sometimes acting with passion can feel irresponsible or make us feel vulnerable, but this is a misconception. If anything, it is our convictions and sensitivity that make us better people and can bring life to our leadership.

To be a bold leader you have to find your passion and have the courage to pursue it. If we can express passion in what we are doing, and bring all the confidence and expertise that comes along with it, we will be happier, more fulfilled, and more willing to serve because our work will have meaning.

The first step is to define what you are truly passionate about. The second step is to understand how this passion can serve your work. This will make you a better leader and role model, and allow others to bring their own passion to the table, unashamedly.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” US author and theologian, Howard Thurman.

6. Legacy

Bold leadership requires us to think about our legacy and the impact we want to create. If we are to leave the legacy we wish for, we have to act in the present and be aware that everything matters. How are we honouring our purpose right now? Am I in the right place to do that? What is the best impact I can make? What will my legacy be? Am I working from a place of self-preservation or a place of growth, togetherness and optimism?

If we can ask these questions, it will help us to stay focused as leaders and retain meaning in our organisations. 

7. Be yourself

This kind of wisdom doesn’t always feel like the safest route. More often than not we try to please others, or adapt to slot into a gap, which doesn’t necessarily fit us, based on expectations of what we think the situation or other people are asking for. To be a bold leader, you need to believe that you – an authentic and unique person – are exactly what the situation needs.

If you can believe in yourself and what you are doing, you will be the role model that everybody needs and respects. When you find yourself and can be comfortable in your work and relationships, and if you can bring your passion to the table, you will find success as a leader and inspire your teams to be greater too.  

Ultimately, the best way to be a great leader is just to be you. Find what makes you feel alive, do it, and then see how the world reacts.


Zana Goic Petricevic is an internationally certified leadership coach, consultant and keynote speaker. She is the Founder of Bold Leadership Culture, and the author of Bold Reinvented: Next level leading with Courage, Consciousness and Conviction (2021).

Read more Business Impact articles related to leadership:

Business Impact Volume 17 (3: 2023)

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