Why Leaders Must Take Risks

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(DGIwire) — Life as we know it would be pretty boring if it weren’t for the risk takers.

Humans wouldn’t have discovered how to fly if certain brave men and women didn’t risk everything venturing into the heavens. We wouldn’t watch those World Cup, Olympic athletes and X-Games contestants who awe us with their feats. Music wouldn’t have evolved through a wide variety of genres if certain singers, drummers, guitarists and other musicians didn’t challenge the status quo and push for new edges of expression. Our lives would not be full of gadgets if Steve Jobs and others hadn’t dared to test the limits of their imaginations on technological advancement. Let’s face it: The world is largely a better place in part because of the adventurous leaders who dared to take risks.

The best leaders are calculated risk takers, according to Dian Griesel, Ph.D. She should know: an entrepreneur herself, she is regularly hired by public company CEOs to help guide their communication messaging regarding decisions that might be interpreted by some as risky. Griesel explains, “In a world that revolves around 24-7 news that is being disseminated to audiences around the world in seconds, a certain amount of risk-taking is inevitable for success. Action following a prudent assessment of the pros and cons of any situation or opportunity is essential. Effective leaders can’t be afraid to take the risk and act—or someone else will and that calculated risk taker will end up controlling the message and dominating the desired markets.”

To get comfortable with taking risks, Griesel suggests breaking the assessment process down to three factors: Innovation, Knowledge and Change. Here is an elaboration of each. Innovation: A good leader is someone who isn’t afraid to venture into the unknown. No matter how much time you have devoted in planning an activity or an event, there will always be glitches and problems. Accept this as a fact. Consequently, a leader must be flexible, while also being ready to continually innovate and explore new ideas with co-workers and others. The willingness to take calculated risks ensures the fruition of a company’s objectives and helps support the common livelihood. There wouldn’t be medical and technological advancements if the people behind the many remarkable successes were averse to risks.

Knowledge: Since the beginning of time, man has learned to conquer his surroundings through trial and error. The human race is largely defined by our desires, our curiosity and our insatiable urge to discover new things. We must accept that it is nearly impossible to gain knowledge if unwilling to take risks. It is the bold leaders we admire: Those who took it upon themselves to take the risks to innovate.

Change: The only permanent thing is change. A leader who accepts this concept is someone who knows how to take risks and step outside of his or her comfort zone. Many companies, businesses and even empires have fallen or gone bankrupt because their leaders became comfortable with the status quo. In contrast, companies and even countries that have been led by people who didn’t cringe when asked to take on risk have adapted to changing times and continually maintained their top positions.

In order to become an extraordinary leader and leave your mark on your organization or group, it might be time to increase your number of calculated risks.

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