Bryan Lindenberger

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Saturday, March 4, 2017

Are you more risk averse as an associate than as a leader?

There are people who drive their own car as though it’s made from million dollar eggshells. Built "Ford Tough" but gotta protect their rims: they cross the tracks like it's a minefield. But put them in a rental…the road terror comes out to see if they can clear the tracks at 120 mph.
I’m not one of those people. And if you are, there’s no reason to read further – you’re set.
The rest of us will take personal risks with the things we own. But we shy away from taking risks with the things others own.
That can be car, a website, or an advertising campaign. On our own, we’ll try anything because we own it and are willing to test it. But when a chance needs taken on another’s behalf, we become overly-cautious, afraid of breaking someone else’s stuff.
In my case, it seems like yesterday where I led a sizeable staff, had dozens of students, volunteers, and others depending on me. I took chances, sometimes big ones. When something didn’t work, I knew it fell on me to fix…and fast! Lots of midnight oil burned there, and our outcomes were often amazing.
With career change, I’ve been in a non-leadership role for a while now. It’s a pattern for three years counting, and there is no one to blame but myself. Familiar? It goes like this:
Here is something that needs done, can you do it?
I don’t know…here are the obstacles, so I might not—
An associate pipes up: Let me try!
The associate gets the gig.
Nine times out of ten, they screw it up for a while. You might even be the one who fixes it, but guess what? Everything works out and the sun still rises the next day. The person who took the risk on someone else’s behalf got it done. You’re the person who didn’t try.
Remember, it’s the role of the director to be risk-averse, not yours. So get over yourself. If you are considered to take a challenge, it’s because that leader trusts you enough to take the heat for themselves when things don’t go smoothly at first.
Better yet, you are working for someone who is not in the least risk averse and admires a can do spirit. Either way, you will be remembered for the chances you took, the challenges you met head on and not what you broke along the way.
We’ve all seen the ADVANCED tab in software.
We’ve all felt that moment of hesitation before the click, before diving in. But dive in you must. If you couldn’t be trusted with it, it wouldn’t be there. With the right attitude, you might find yourself in a position to take your own chances again, and not someone else’s. You’ll be much more comfortable there.

From Bryan Lindenberger at LinkedIn