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GREAT LEADERS

7 Things Really Bold People Do

Boldness is a leadership trait to be mastered. Here are actions that make bold people admirable.
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"Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!"

The day I went off to college, a friend gave me this quote, which is questionably attributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Over the years, it has inspired me, and I have seen it posted on the walls and bulletin boards of many entrepreneurs and leaders.

Bold people stand out from the group. They are confident, courageous, and directed. I believe there is boldness in most people. Given the right set of circumstances, many will take action to better the world around them.

People who choose to be bold are inspiring not just because they get big things accomplished, but because they also instigate growth, progress, and movement for themselves and others around them. Sadly, far more people wait for someone who is bold to lead the way, hoping somehow luck will shine success upon them.

Perhaps it's time to unleash the bold leader in you. Try adding these seven actions to your daily repertoire, and see how much faster the magic of boldness takes you toward success.

1. They own their flaws and strengths. There is a difference between boldness and carelessness. Bold leaders have strong self-awareness. They know when they should take bold action and when they are out of their element. They minimize the risk for themselves and others by constantly reassessing themselves and engaging others to accommodate for personal weakness. Want to be a bold leader? Be more self-aware. Engage others who can complement your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses.

2. They keep clear priorities. Someone who constantly jumps into action without a plan isn't bold, just foolish. Bold people know their objectives and prioritize them clearly. They can afford to be bold because they can recognize the right opportunity when it comes along. Want to be a bold leader? Know clearly what you need to accomplish and seek those chances that will move the team forward. Avoid unimportant activities that lead to distraction.

3. They speak up. Bold people are not necessarily loud or boisterous, but when they have something to say, they say it. More important, they understand when and how to say it. Being bold does not equal being a bully or a loudmouth. Bold leaders must be better at tact and empathy, because the very nature of their words will carry power and impact. Bold leaders also understand that silence is often the greatest statement one can make, and they use it judiciously. Want to be a bold leader? Say what needs to be said before the silence derails the team.

4. They pair action with knowledge. Even though bold leaders are prone to action, they are rarely considered rash. They apply the same sense of action to learning and due diligence as they do to any other activity. Bold leaders want to make sure their actions lead to success, so they investigate before leading their team to the charge. Want to be a bold leader? Improve your odds of success by doing your homework. You'll increase your confidence and your success rate.

5. They accept the value of failure. No one is totally comfortable with failure, but bold leaders understand that greater rewards stem from greater risk. Still, they know how to mitigate catastrophic risk and how to protect their team. Bold leaders also know how to use risk to their advantage. They harness the energy and adrenaline and make sure that every failure is a learning opportunity. Want to be a bold leader? Make failure an acceptable part of your process. Teach the team how to assess and limit risk, so missteps can happen without total destruction. Then get people to learn and reboot.

6. They make the most of small wins. Many people sit and wait around for the "right opportunity" before they are willing to step up and take action. Sadly, sometimes that right opportunity never comes. Bold people understand that rarely is any situation perfect from the beginning. They look to make the most of any given set of circumstances that can lead to victory, even a small one. Cumulatively, consistent little wins spell success, attracting followers. Want to be a bold leader? Start with a small battle you think you can win, map out a plan, and take the field. Winning builds confidence as well as your reputation.

7.  They build momentum. Bold people recognize that a single victory is not enough to sustain leadership. They work to create a series of actions that help the team gather confidence, speed, and power. They have a sense of when to add energy to drive forward and when to let the momentum itself carry things forward efficiently. Want to be a bold leader? Craft your plan so that each action takes advantage of the success from the last. Take advantage of any win that gains attention, respect, and popularity. Activate your fans, cultivate relationships, build buzz. Don't coast!

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IMAGE: Getty Images
Last updated: Apr 4, 2014

KEVIN DAUM | Columnist

An Inc. 500 entrepreneur with a more than $1 billion sales and marketing track record, Kevin Daum is the best-selling author of Video Marketing for Dummies and the executive producer of Amilya! on 77WABC New York. Sign up here and never miss out on Kevin's thoughts and humor.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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