The Connection Between Risk and Leadership
- Steve Williamson, VP Digital Marketing and Content Creation, eRep, Inc.
- Monday, July 17, 2023
We all take risks, whether it's marrying someone we met a month ago or eating sushi from a gas station. In some occupations, taking risks is par for the course. Are leadership roles among them? We dive into the connection between risk and leadership.
It is a common assumption that risk and leadership are inherently connected.
Leadership involves making decisions and taking actions that have an impact on the organization or the people being led. Risk, on the other hand, refers to the possibility of negative outcomes or uncertainty associated with those decisions and actions.
eRep is a company that provides the Core Values Index™ psychometric assessment and personality test. It is used not only by individuals to better understand their personality's DNA, but it is also relied on by thousands of businesses and organizations for accurate hiring — to put the right people into the right seats.
The CVI provides an accurate and reliable way to align personality with the needs of a role.
What kind of personality must exist in effective leaders? Are "natural born leaders"* inherently adept at managing risk?
* It's still undetermined if leadership is a natural trait or if it can be learned.
We have found that effective leaders possess a number of qualities, but there is no universal personality type that will consistently reveal effective leadership qualities in all circumstances. However, there are some generalities and patterns that tend to be common in those who exhibit strong leadership skills.
When it comes to describing the connection between leadership and risk, here are five main points to consider.
This is one of the obvious ones. Leaders are responsible for making important decisions that can significantly affect the success or failure of their organization. These decisions often involve taking risks.
Effective leaders carefully assess the potential risks and rewards associated with different options and choose the course of action that maximizes the likelihood of achieving desired outcomes.
It's very rare to find a leader who is simultaneously afraid of taking risks yet is willing to make big decisions.
The trick of great leadership is making smart decisions by understanding and weighing the risks and choosing the path that has the highest likelihood of success.
Innovation and Growth
Innovation often entails the pursuit of activities with unknown outcomes. In its essence, innovation is seeing sunshine on the other side of storm clouds.
This pursuit of the new implicitly entails the acceptance and embrace of calculated risks in order to achieve growth. Taking these risks can lead to new opportunities, improved processes, and competitive advantages.
Leaders who are willing to take calculated risks inspire their teams to think creatively, challenge the status quo, and explore new avenues for growth and improvement.
It's nearly impossible to innovate new ideas and pursue growth without the willingness and ability to identify and weigh risks against their possible rewards, and make the decision to move forward anyway.
As with innovation, many leadership decisions entail taking action with unknown outcomes.
Leaders operate in an environment of uncertainty where outcomes are often influenced by various external factors beyond their control.
They must navigate through ambiguity, anticipate potential risks, and develop strategies to mitigate them.
Leaders who effectively manage risk and uncertainty can help their organizations adapt to changing circumstances and minimize negative impacts.
Accountability and Responsibility
Leaders bear the responsibility for the outcomes of their decisions and actions. When taking risks, they must be accountable for the consequences, whether positive or negative.
This accountability is a form of personal risk because their reputation, and even their entire career, can be at stake if things go wrong. Because of this, great leaders are often called upon to exercise a certain level of courage in their actions and decisions.
Courage isn't the absence of fear. It is taking action in spite of it.
Effective leaders are willing to take responsibility for their decisions and learn from both successes and failures, using these experiences to refine their approach to risk-taking in the future.
Building Trust and Resilience
Many believe that a hallmark of a great leader is their ability to inspire others.
You can spot a great leader by the success of those around them.
Leaders who are skilled at managing risk can inspire trust and confidence in their teams. When employees see their leaders taking calculated risks and effectively handling adverse outcomes, it fosters an environment of trust, resilience, and psychological safety. This, in turn, encourages team members to be more innovative, take calculated risks themselves, and contribute to the organization's overall success.
Through adversity we grow
Leadership involves assessing risks, making informed decisions, managing uncertainty, embracing innovation, and being accountable for outcomes.
Effective leaders understand the connection between risk and leadership and are adept at balancing risk-taking with strategic thinking and sound judgment.
Core Values Index™ and CVI™ are trademarks of Taylor Protocols, Inc.
Go to eRep.com/core-values-index/ to learn more about the CVI or to take the Core Values Index assessment.
Innovator/Banker - VP Digital Marketing and Content Creation, eRep, Inc.
Steve has a career in project management, software development and technical team leadership spanning three decades. He is the author of a series of fantasy novels called The Taesian Chronicles (ruckerworks.com), and when he isn't writing, he enjoys cycling, old-school table-top role-playing games, and buzzing around the virtual skies in his home-built flight simulator.
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