100% Jodi: Infuse Your Leadership with Bold Requests

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How are you at making bold requests?  Which of these sounds most familiar?

  • I know what I want – and I’m definitely not afraid to ask for it.
  • Sometimes I feel confident enough to make a bold request…but not always.
  • Me? Make a bold request. Not a chance.

In this episode you and I are going to explore what it looks like to bring some boldness to your leadership and how to be bolder if this is something you shy away from.

Having a Voice

I recently saw a quote from Madeleine Albright that got me thinking. The quote is, “It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.”

Thinking about that quote I was reminded of how shy and withdrawn I was as a child and how it took a long time for me to start speaking up for myself on a regular basis.

And making bold requests? That took even longer.

Even within the last 18 months I can think of a situation in which, as a leader, I held back from sharing my opinion, and that caused me to feel off balance for the next several months.

Have you ever had that experience?

Something is up for discussion that you disagree with but, for whatever reason, instead of taking your turn to put forth your perspective, you hold back. And it doesn’t sit well with you that you did that.

The situation could have involved you not sharing a new idea, calling out something that isn’t working, or proposing a change.

As a leader there are times you need to put yourself out there, even if it it’s a little intimidating to do so.

Let’s talk about being bold, and making bold requests, and why it’s actually more in alignment with who you are than you might think right now.

What Bold is and is Not

Before you and I really dive into being bold let’s make a distinction right out of the gate. Bold leaders are not loud, pushy, or bossy. Rather, bold leaders share their perspective, voice their opinion, and step up to lead when others do not.

Boldness is about taking risks, stretching your comfort zone, and being courageous.

And, because a risk to one person is not the same as a risk for another, and everyone has a different comfort zone when it comes to different relationships, actions, or ideas, boldness will look different for different individuals.

Why be Bold and Make Bold Requess?

Joe Folkman, who is Global Authority in Psychometrics and Research, Leadership, and Change, looked at 360-degree reports on more than 100,000 leaders in all industries and from around the world. He identified leaders who exhibit bold behaviors and researched the effects of their boldness and how others perceived them. What he found was that boldness had positive outcomes when combined with other leadership traits. For instance,

  • Leaders who had good judgment but were not bold had a 1% chance of being rated an extraordinary leader.
  • Leaders who were bold but had poor judgment had a 4%
  • Leaders who had both good judgment and bold leadership had a 95% chance of being rated as extraordinary.

Additionally, he found that boldness combined with other leadership traits such as honesty, relationship building, innovation, and strategic perspective enhanced those traits.

Consider that. Being honest versus being boldly honest.

Building relationships versus boldly building relationships.

Boldness ups the anti and brings more gusto to whatever you are doing.

Other take-aways from Joe Folkman’s research. Bold leaders…

  • Are seen as much more effective.
  • Have employees that are highly engaged.
  • Are significantly better at retaining top talent.
  • Have employees that are more willing to go above and beyond their job expectations.

Boldness will help you develop the team you want to work with and will have your team seeing you as a great leader.

Are you seeing the value in boldness? Are you ready to make some bold requests?

Boldness is Not Just for Men

Now, you might be thinking, “Jodi, that’s all well and good but they’re talking about male leaders, right? Because men have the reputation for being bold while women in leadership are navigating the ‘likeability trap’”.

The likeability trap is real but research published in the Harvard Business Review, this time looking at 75,000 360-degree assessments from leaders around the world found that on average women were bolder than men, by 3 basis points. This was especially true of women in male-dominated fields.

This research was based on a “boldness index” that assessed seven behaviors.

  • Challenges standard approaches
  • Creates an atmosphere of continual improvement
  • Does everything possible to achieve goals
  • Gets others to go beyond what they originally thought possible
  • Energizes others to take on challenging goals
  • Quickly recognizes situations where change is needed
  • Has the courage to make needed changes

Thinking of those seven behaviors, isn’t that the kind of leader you want to be? Whatever you think of the label of “Bold”, those behaviors are considered bold.

Ideas to Practice Being Bold

At this point, if you are not recognizing that you are already a bold leader, I’m hoping you are all-in to bring more boldness to your leadership and make some bold requests.

After all, as Helen Keller wisely said, “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.”

Here are some ways that you can begin to flex your boldness muscle.

  1. You know that change you’ve been wanting to make. Bring it up to one person whom you think might be open to this change. Get their buy-in and then go to the next person. Once you have a majority that are open to considering this change present it to the groups that would be impacted by the change and those who have decision-making power.
  2. Ask your team, if anything were possible, what changes would they like to make. And then work with them to see if there’s a way to make it happen. Don’t give up on the idea right away. See if, as a team, you can make it possible.
  3. Look outside your team. How can you and your team improve relations with another department or division. How can both departments or divisions work together to be more effective, reduce costs, improve morale, etc.? Remember, you display that you are ready for promotion when you are able to think beyond your immediate scope and responsibilities. Think more globally.
  4. Challenge common and accepted practices to challenge the status quo. Don’t we all love the phrase, “we’ve always done it this way”? I think most of us are guilty of saying this when don’t want change, but as a leader it can be an obstacle to positive change. Challenge the status quo, not by giving directives, challenge by asking questions. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions as well.
  5. Practice setting and holding your boundaries. Yes, boundaries. Setting (and holding to) your boundaries is radically bold. Without muddying the waters too much, let’s acknowledge there are times we need to be flexible and give a little more. It’s up to you to consistently assess if your boundaries are where they need to be and are holding strong.

Your Boldness is Good for All Women

I’m going to put my stake in the ground here. When we normalize setting and holding to our stated boundaries, we are going to see more women stepping into senior leadership.

One of the reasons women hesitate from going after or accepting a promotion is they are concerned the role will take over their life and they won’t have time for much else. You’ve observed the patterns of your leaders. How are they doing setting boundaries? Would you want their schedule and the responsibilities that you observe?

To change this pattern, we have to change how we operate as leaders. We need to model to the leaders who will come after us that they can do this role and have time for family, community, hobbies, health and wellness, fun, and so on.

Don’t be afraid to be a bold leader making bold requests.

Are you ready to make some bold moves? In the next episode I’m going to go over how to make bold requests and specifically, how to ask the decision makers at your company to pay for you to work with a coach.

If you’re interested in finding out more about my process, the cost of coaching, or how to ask your employer to pay for you to work with a coach, send me a message on any social media platform or click on the scheduling link in the show notes. You can find that link in the episode description. If you’re listening on your phone that will be in your podcast app. If you are listening through the Women Taking the Lead website the link will be toward the bottom of the episode webpage.

I would love to hear from you!

As always, I hope this was of value to you and here’s to your success!


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