What makes a brave leader?

This week, I attended the Marketing Society’s annual event Braver. The talks by the speakers and focus of discussion centred around what it means to be truly brave – both in work and in life.

Dr Caroline Casey spoke of overcoming disability to run her own business; a company called Binc that gets people with disabilities into business. And Cecilia Weckstrom from Lego spoke about how to be a creative leader who inspires and teaches through play and experimentation.

Hearing from all the industry leaders made me think about what is at the heart of being a brave leader: humility. No matter if you’re leading a huge team or a small start up company, the bravest leaders are the ones that are the most open and honest with their people.

Towards the end of the event, there was a panel discussion hosted by Marketing Society Chief Executive Gemma Greaves. The question she asked was: ‘What is the biggest mistake you’ve made in business?’

Their answers ranged from feeling totally out of their depth to heading up a campaign they knew was doomed from the start. Each story showed that to get things done, or to change things that are broken, you have to take leaps of faith.

Courage should be in the very culture of your business. When leaders show vulnerability it breeds empathy and creates a strong bond of unity throughout your organisation. The bravest aren’t the ones stubbornly digging in their heels, they’re the ones openly embracing change, welcoming feedback from across the business and trusting their people.

At Brilliant Noise, humility is one of our key principles. For us, it means we can take risks within a supportive team, learn from our peers, our mistakes and our success. We learn from our peers: actively seeking them out to respect and acknowledge them.