What motivates a coward

managementHow bosses go from cowards to executives

What makes cowards different from executives? Cowards are afraid. They go with the flow, keep their opinions to themselves and establish a culture of distrust in companies. Managers, on the other hand, are brave. They talk softly - whether upwards, to the side or downwards. They discuss, inform, motivate and criticize. They involve people, develop strategies with their teams and colleagues, and implement changes. They clearly state what they do and do what they say. This means that real managers have two essential competencies in the world of work 4.0: clarity and courage.

Do you also want to be clear and courageous? Then follow these eight principles:

# 1 Talk Tacheles!

Managers must always run the risk of occasionally making themselves unpopular with what they say. With the intention of wanting to be everybody's darling, nobody can lead successfully and authentically. So, boldly say what you think and be clear about what you want. Words like “one”, “would”, “would”, “could” and non-binding empty phrases do not belong in the vocabulary of a manager.

# 2 Get Answers!

Asking the right questions to get the answers you need is one of the most important skills of a leader. With questions like these you can involve your employees and find out what they think and understand: "What do you think of ...?", "What is going through your head?", "In your opinion, what speaks for / against it?" , "What information are you still missing?"

# 3 Do what you say!

Real leaders keep their promises. When employees have the experience of not being able to rely on what their superiors say, then cooperation suffers for a long time. The consequences are often resistance and loss of confidence. So always remember: Gaining the trust of employees takes months or even years - to lose it again, often only a few seconds.

# 4 Position yourself!

Managers give support with their own attitude. It is of great importance for employees to find orientation in their superiors. In contrast to cowards, managers willingly and willingly ensure that their employees know how they feel about which decisions and issues.

# 5 Be uncomfortable!

To be uncomfortable means to challenge employees to show them what performance is expected of them and to criticize them when they fail to perform. This is the only way managers can get their employees out of their comfort zone and help them develop further.

# 6 Make yourself vulnerable!

This does not mean going into constant war with employees and superiors, but - if necessary - going against the mainstream. Real executives generally show the willingness to express their own opinion, even if it does not correspond to general expectations. Often it is precisely these managers who later become the courageous pioneers in breaking new ground.

# 7 Be open and honest - but never one hundred percent!

Honesty and openness are the pillars of the relationship between managers and employees. Sometimes they lead to escalation and confrontation - a development that is often necessary to initiate changes in companies. True to the motto "Honesty doesn’t always last the longest" and “If you are one hundred percent open, you’re not very tight”, it is important to find the right line. The demands of real executives in terms of honesty and openness should therefore be: "Everything I say must be true, but I have to say not everything that is true."

# 8 Make unpopular decisions too!

It's good to be liked by employees; it is fatal to depend on it - good managers are aware of that. They accept the risk of making themselves unpopular with their employees through their decisions. If you make decisions with courage and conviction, success often proves you right. Because: Success may come at the expense of the mood, but never the mood at the expense of success.

Take these suggestions to heart, regularly declare war on your inner coward and open yourself up to become or remain a courageous leader!

Nicole Pathé has been a freelance trainer, personnel developer and expert on the subject of "clarity and courage in business" for over 20 years. In autumn 2017, her book “Coward or Leadership - How to Win People with Clarity and Courage” was published by Gabal Verlag.