We know that risk is critical for innovation and succeeding in today’s fast-paced market.
But for many leaders, getting their teams to take risks is harder than it looks!
As a leader, you can’t MAKE your teams take risks. However, you can take steps that make them feel more comfortable doing so.
It starts with giving team members permission!
That means giving them permission to fail, too!
Let’s dive deeper into the ways leaders can create an environment that encourages teams to take smart risks.
Communicate Clear Expectations
The first step in helping your teams feel comfortable with risk is communicating clear expectations.
If someone doesn’t know how their leader will respond if they take a risk…why would they feel comfortable doing so?
Give explicit permission to take risks – but let your teams know if there are some risks that require discussion first.
Your team needs to know without a shadow of a doubt that you SUPPORT them taking risks (and failing too)!
Taking risks means failing sometimes too. It’s an inevitable part of going outside your comfort zone.
But for a lot of people, failure is very scary. It not only hurts their ego, but it can make them scared of how their leader or team members will respond.
So rather than ever taking risks or trying anything new, these people will stick to what they know – even if it means never learning, growing, or reaching their full potential.
That’s why it’s also helpful to redefine our idea of failure. Remind team members that it’s only truly a failure if you don’t learn from it.
Failure is a key part of the growth process. If we never fail or fall short of our goals, how are we supposed to learn and grow? To learn new things and expand our skill sets means we have to fail too!
We have to do our best to help our teams look at failure and risk from a growth-focused mindset.
Lead by Example
Another great way to make your teams feel more comfortable with risk is by leading by example!
People won’t take risks unless they see you taking risks, too.
And they won’t feel comfortable with the idea of failing if you project an image of perfection.
Be open about your mistakes and failures. Share why you did it, what you hoped to gain – and most importantly – what you learned from it. In a nutshell, you should model how you want your teams to think about risk, trying new things, experimentation, and failure.
This not only helps you build stronger relationships with your teams, but it also gives them a bit more confidence to take risks.
We Need Risk-Takers
“The most dangerous words in the English language are, “this is how we’ve always done it.”
Everyone has heard this saying – but how many leaders have teams who are too scared to challenge the status quo and try something different?
Now more than ever, leaders need teams that are willing to experiment with bold new ideas.
If you communicate clearly, set the right example, and challenge the traditional idea of failure, you’ll be surprised how many team members warm up to the idea.
It’s not easy, but it’s well worth it. After all, we can’t afford teams that don’t take risks!