Leadership, Or Risk Management?
I talked with a new senior leadership member who was just hired to oversee operations for a key department. In our discussion, he explained that his staff confided in him that his predecessor was never open to new ideas, efficiencies, or solving problems that challenged the status quo.
It reminded me of how many in leadership are actually “risk managers” versus being true leaders who champion growth and change.
Here are the key differences between “risk managers” (RMs) and “leaders” (Ls):
- RMs want constancy of status quo; Ls want constancy of improvement
- RMs don’t want to be bothered; Ls go to great troubles and lengths for change
- RMs find fault with every new solution or idea; Ls try to find merit in each new idea
- RMs force everything into a little box, including people’s thinking; Ls break down the box and stretch people’s vision
- RMs hold on to their leadership authority; Ls give their authority away freely
- RMs are resistant to accountability; Ls actively embrace it and the constructive criticism that makes them better
- RMs take the safe “we’ve always done it this way” approach; Ls remove the safety net if there is a tremendous benefit to the new changes
- RMs hold tight on the purse strings and don’t spend on R&D or training; Ls know that innovation and people development are solid and necessary investments
- RMs make the customer conform to their policies and operational standards; Ls make their operations meet the needs of their customer
- RMs sit at their desk; Ls are in the field making their people better and their customers happier
- RMs work insecurely and in constant fear; Ls know there is no security but are secure in their values and commitment to the mission
- RMs minimize risk, especially for themselves; Ls maximize opportunities for all
You get the point. Leaders should consider risk management when looking at bringing on liability, investments, and other initiatives that can encumber the organization. But if done with an enthusiasm to meet the vision of the organization and it’s continued growth both internally and externally, it finds its proper place.
Are there risk managers in your leadership positions? How about yourself? What are ways you can break people out a minimizing risk mindset into maximizing opportunities?