Simplifying Leadership with the 3C Disciplines

Guest post by Great Leadership regular contributor Beth Armknecht Miller:

I, and others, have been guilty in the past of making leadership
so complicated. Both new and current leaders can become overwhelmed with the
long lists of leadership “how tos” and “need tos”. How can any leader master
all of these?  But does great leadership really
have to be so complicated?

As I have worked with successful leaders over the years, they
all have demonstrated three disciplines that I believe are critical to success:
Care, Curiosity, and Courage. And
when leaders embrace and master these three disciplines much of what a leader has
to accomplish is a result of these core disciplines.

So what is so special about Care, Curiosity, and Courage?

As a leader, when you consistently care, both employee engagement and employer brand are improved for
the organization.

Care is perceived by others from actions that a leader
chooses to do or not do. The ability to consciously and purposefully choose to
act and communicate in a caring way shows those that you lead that they are
much more than an employee to you and the organization. When you demonstrate
care a trusting and safe environment will develop, where employees will want to
share their ideas and concerns with you.

I want readers not to
confuse care with coddling. Care is not coddling! Coddling is for kids not for
adults who are being compensated for work.

Care is also about community and society as a whole. Today’s
leaders must be part of the greater good and not insular to their company and
industry. Great leaders care about what is happening in their community and
become an active part of their community.

Consistently exhibiting curiosity
and having a commanding desire to understand and learn can stimulate innovation
and creativity within an organization. And with the rate of change
accelerating, both innovation and creativity are critical to a company’s
future. Curiosity can drive you as a leader to be more agile to market and
economic changes.

You demonstrate curiosity by asking great and powerful questions
to understand others and uncover opportunities. Learning and developing yourself
as a leader shows others that you are not only curious but that you value
growth and development. And when you embrace curiosity then you are helping to
develop others around you. Curiosity can have a synergistic effect on others.

On the other hand, if you think you have all the answers and
aren’t open to new ideas you won’t be prepared for changes that can affect both
you, your team members and your organization. Lack of curiosity is a risk to

And the final leadership discipline but by no means least, courage. This is the discipline that if
mastered can set you apart as a leader. Leadership courage aids in keeping
companies on the path to their vision, and true to their mission and values.
With courage, organizations thrive in a world of transparency where the truth
is spoken even when the message is difficult. 

Accountability is found with leaders of courage. Employees
have clear expectations of performance standards and are held to them. And,
employees aren’t surprised when receiving feedback and development plans.

Courage doesn’t come easily. 
It requires you to make tough decisions that may have a negative impact
on you personally and/or professionally. Courage is also demonstrated when you
have the fierce conversations with team members that you don’t look forward to
in a timely manner.

When you can concentrate on just three and not multiple
lists of disciplines, change is manageable. Take time to assess yourself in
these three disciplines, identify what needs to be strengthened and work at
becoming more consistent in practicing them all.
Beth Armknecht Miller, of Atlanta, Georgia, is Founder and President of Executive Velocity, a leadership development advisory firm accelerating the leadership success of CEOs and business leaders. She is also a Vistage Chair and Executive Coach. She is certified in Myers Briggs and Hogan leadership assessment tools and is a Certified Managerial Coach by Kennesaw State University. Visit or or follow her on twitter at SrExecAdvisor.