Don’t Lead Scared – 6 Tips for Leading Like a Badass

John WayneOne sure way to kill your leadership career is to lead scared.

Leading from a position of fear never brings good results. It causes you to make rash decisions, shrink from opportunities, and needlessly fight the wrong battles.

The opposite of leading scared is leading like a badass. What does a badass leader look like?

He confidently marches to the beat of his own drum, not swayed by popular opinion or the need to please others. He doesn’t put on airs, pretending to be something he isn’t, but stays true to his principles and values in all that he does. He doesn’t have to talk about being a badass (that’s a poser) because he knows he is a badass. A badass leader isn’t an uncooperative jerk, indiscriminately ticking people off. A badass leader knows his limits and takes pride in working with others to achieve the goals of the team. Understated, purposeful, and pursuing excellence in all he does. That’s a badass.

Examples of well-known badasses:

  • Abraham Lincoln – Presidential Badass
  • Condoleezza Rice – Diplomat Badass
  • Derek Jeter – Baseball Badass
  • Leonardo da Vinci – Renaissance Badass
  • Mother Teresa – Spiritual Badass
  • Albert Einstein – Intellectual Badass
  • Aristotle – Philosophical Badass
  • John Wayne – Western Movie Actor Badass

Get the idea? So how do you become a leadership badass? Here’s six ways:

1. Develop your competence – Competence breeds confidence, no two ways about it. If you want to be more secure in your leadership abilities then you need to keep learning and growing. Read books, take classes, get a mentor, and learn from others. Badass leaders aren’t content with the status quo. They are always striving to improve their craft.

2. Be vulnerable – Huh? Isn’t that the opposite of being a badass? No! Leaders that display vulnerability show they don’t have anything to hide. Posers are those who lead with a false sense of confidence, trying to hide their weaknesses from others. Badass leaders are acutely aware of their strengths and weaknesses and aren’t afraid to admit when they don’t know something. People crave authentic leadership and badasses are nothing if not authentic.

3. Focus on building trust – Trust is the foundation of badassery. You have to earn people’s trust before they will follow you and give their all. Badass leaders focus on building trust by being good at what they do, acting with integrity, caring for others, and following through on their commitments.

4. Build up other people – Badass leaders don’t feel the need to build themselves up by tearing down others. Secure enough in their self-worth, badass leaders take pride in the accomplishments of their team members and do everything they can to set them up for success. Badass leaders know that their success comes from the success of their people.

5. Get stuff done – Badass leaders don’t make excuses, they make things happen. They remove obstacles for their people, find the tools and resources they need, and provide the right amounts of direction and support they need to achieve their goals. Badass leaders are about doing, not talking. Badass leaders get stuff done.

6. Go against the grain – Doing what’s right is not always the popular choice, but badass leaders aren’t afraid to go against the grain when it’s the right thing to do. Badass leaders know they can’t base their self-worth on the applause of others and they aren’t afraid to ruffle a few feathers on occasion.

Every leader has the ability to be a badass. It’s an attitude, a belief, a way of being. Don’t lead scared, letting fear drive your behavior, but tap into your inner badassness and lead with confidence and assurance. Before you know it, people will look at you and say, “Now that’s a badass leader!”

Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts on what it means to lead like a badass.

24 Comments on “Don’t Lead Scared – 6 Tips for Leading Like a Badass

  1. Pingback: Don't Lead Scared – 6 Tips for Leading Like a Badass | mennyshmaryahu

  2. Randy, almost 11 years ago My family (husband, two children and I came to this country looking for opportunities for a better quality of life for us. We left behind us every thing we have worked for many years, even my dream- business. We did that out of fear because of what was going on in Venezuela, and today I can tell you it was the best thing we could do for our family. I guess God have better plans for us. So he helped us to overcome fear while working with love and passion for that wonderful intention of giving our children an opportunity to live with a sense freedom. I am still working on those six ways, and for many years improving from growing and learning…I am so glad now is easier to reach this kind of information that really help us to keep learning. Thank you!

  3. Pingback: Don’t Lead Scared – 6 Tips for Leading Like a Badass | Developing Leadership for Social Change

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  5. Randy – Excellent points… though I must ask… are there no female badass leaders to highlight?

    • Great point Jenny. One of my friends just pointed that out to me.

      The answer is, “Absolutely!” Check back for my updates and add a comment for any others you think should be included.


  6. Jenny, I believe Mother Theresa and Condoleezza Rice are both “female”…

  7. As always, enjoyed the post Randy. Interesting use of the term ‘badass’ because one thing your list of people have in common is they are all extremely smart in their own way. Therefore, ‘smartass’ would be more a propos though it doesn’t sound as good does it? đŸ™‚

  8. Pingback: Turn Conflict into Traction - Cesar Quintero Less Drama, More Traction

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