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How Boldness Helps Emerging Leaders Leapfrog in Their Careers

As an emerging leader, you're just beginning to be noticed. People are paying attention, watching and waiting and wondering to see if you have what it takes.

Graphic Showing Speaking in a PodiumThis is not the time to be reticent. It's time to be bold in your actions, words and choices. Being bold means showing courage and accepting challenges. It doesn't mean being brash in your demanor or rash in your actions. To continue being noticed in a positive way, you need to be bold and daring in ways that move the team forward.

Emerging Leaders often hold back because they fear failure

Yes, it's true. You're in the spotlight now. Your mistakes, just like your successes, will be more evident to more people.

Also true: you will fail. Everyone does. The fastest way to fail at this point, though, is to do nothing. That spotlight is fickle, and it will turn to someone else if you aren't continuing to try new things and stretch yourself.

The failure itself is not what will prevent you from growing in your career. What matters is how you handle your failure.

Right there, in the spotlight, you need to boldly own your failure. Learn from it. Show change and growth because of it.

Emerging Leaders sometimes take it too far

While some at this career juncture retreat into the shadows and passively wait around for something to happen, others go to the opposite extreme. That's no good either.

Being aggressive isn't the same thing as being bold. Aggressiveness is beyond boldness. It's self-serving, bullying and cowardly.

Using the chart above, you want to aim for the green column. By being assertive, you boldly demonstrate your leadership abilities. Shifting from your independent role where you thrived by being a strong individual contributor, you'll now need to make choices and take actions that serve the group's needs.

Emerging leaders who are bold and authentic make the best impression

When you are confident in your ability to recover from a failure and self-assured enough to try new things without being paralyzed by fear, you will not feel a need to be aggressive.

Instead of banking on others' weaknesses, you'll be relying on your own strengths. This is an expression of authenticity, an important companion to boldness for emerging leaders. 

Next Steps for Emerging Leaders who want to demonstrate their boldness:

1. Make sure you don't have a blindspot when it comes to your soft skills or style. Take the free, self-paced course called The Essentials of Personal Effectiveness to build transferable skills and improve the quality of workplace interactions.
2. Find out if coaching is right for you. This simple self-assessment will help you determine whether or not it makes sense for you to work with an Executive Coach at this point

Deb Calvert is a certified Executive Coach, Certified Master with The Leadership Challenge® and architect of leadership development programs for nearly 100 organizations. She helps leaders at every level discover and achieve their leadership goals. Deb is the founder of People First Productivity Solutions, building organizational strength by putting people first since 2006.