Great Leaders Run Towards Danger, Not Away From It

It’s hard to predict who will make a great leader. Being a great listener is a great start. But you know what else I look for? Someone who runs towards danger with a smile.

There are many incompetent leaders out there who got their leadership position because they were very competent at what they did. But being a superstar performer doesn’t translate to great leadership. Perks, better pay, authority all come with a position of leadership. But your title doesn’t make you a leader.

I recently had a key employee quit. And I had another employee ask for a lesser role, one that doesn’t require responsibility. Both of these employees ran from danger; they got smaller with challenges. They both made the same excuses. I believed both of them were impact players, but they’re not. They believe they are only when it suits them and when a situation is under control.

Unfortunately for them, the world is messy; and so is business. They wilted rather than smiled in the face of challenges!

It’s really simple: trying times either bring out the best or the worst in people. Most people want it easy, but start squirming and showing their real colors when problems arise. Soon you recognize these people only want to lead when everything is good and dandy but run away from challenges.

They start making excuses as to why they can’t and won’t do something; sometimes blaming someone else. You see, leadership is a responsibility that most people don’t want because they are perfectly fine just coasting through the day and delivering what is asked of them; nothing more, nothing less.

But great leaders don’t settle for average. They understand that when they tolerate average, it soon becomes the standard.

“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Great leaders, the ones who run towards danger with a smile, are impact players who have courage in bunches, are accountable, own the outcome and have high character. They don’t care how big the challenge is, they care about slaying it! Their self-confidence comes from overcoming difficulty.

As leaders, we’re judged by our ability to bring out the best in others; not in our ability to overshadow them. When we run towards danger with a smile we’re setting the example. Anybody can look good when systems are in place and business is booming. And this is what differentiates great leaders from average ones: Great leaders don’t just lead when there’s crisis; they keep pushing and challenging during stable times. Thus, the real challenge of leadership is to keep pushing when business is good; not just when it’s in crisis.

Remember, people don’t follow titles; they follow courage. So run towards danger, seek discomfort, and leave your mark.


Bottom line: Great leaders are people who make an impact. People who run towards danger with a smile. Rather than aks for lesser roles, less responsibility, or worse quit; when times are tough, and it’s really in the eye of the beholder, great leaders rise to the occassion.