Great Leaders Are Consistently The Biggest Thinkers In The Room

As a leader, do you lead with courage? Are you challenging the status quo? Are you thinking big? These are important questions to reflect on because as a leader you set the tone. Do you want your team to think and act boldly? You have to think and act boldly.

To Dr. Gurner’s point, I do think that the leader should be the person setting the tone if she/he wants their team to also think and act boldly.

The truth is most business leaders aren’t thinking and acting boldly. Last summer, a CTO told me he didn’t want to stick his head out for a proposed project because he didn’t want to be the fall guy in case it didn’t work out. His comment didn’t surprise me, because he works for a conventionally operated business that implements stuff after everyone else in their industry did.

His boss, the business leader, prefers to play it safe. And this is how 99% of most businesses operate; playing not to lose.

Innovation is another code word for leadership. And, I use a litmus test for innovation leadership to get a feel for an organization’s innovation capability. One litmus test question is: If I were to go out and ask every employee in the organization if you inspire them to bring their best every day, will they say yes and why?

I get all types of reactions from business leaders when I ask them this question. From smirks to frowns, to surprise I see it in their faces. Of course, this question is meant to challenge them. And I’ve yet to meet a business leader who answers yes with full conviction.

Thinking and acting boldly is rare. As Peter Thiel says, “Brilliant thinking is rare, but courage is in even shorter supply”.

So, how do you consistently be the biggest thinker in the room?

I’ve written about the traits that great leaders have, and the most important one is leading by example. As a leader, your example is your most important tool of influence; use it. Remember, leadership isn’t your title; it’s your attitude and actions. Do you want your team to think and act bigger? Set an example by doing it yourself.