Courageous Leadership!

weekly workout Oct 14, 2022

I cannot think of one leadership characteristic that does not require a foundation of courage.

It even takes courage to be courageous!

You have probably heard it said before that “courage is not the absence of fear.” It is obvious that if there is no fear there would be no need for courage.

Courage means that you are fully aware of the fear or apprehension and yet have decided to take the step or action regardless of the fear.

I believe that acknowledging and embracing fear is the key to moving forward in any situation that requires courage.

In working with my leadership coaching clients, I often see resistance to embracing the fear and this struggle keeps them stuck and unable to progress.

It is as if there is some unwritten rule stating that leaders are not supposed to feel fear or at least not supposed to accept and acknowledge those feelings. Not only is this belief untrue it is the very belief that will impede your ability to develop courage.

When you are unwilling to address the reality of a feeling it gives the feeling the power to determine effective actions and decisions.

One example that comes to mind is a leader who is conflict avoidant and therefore not willing or able to address behavior that is harmful to the team and organization. The resulting consequences and lack of courage are often far more disruptive to everyone involved.

In recognizing fear as fear you take some of the immobilizing power out of it. Instead of using your time denying or ignoring the presence of fear you have the energy to make clear and constructive decisions.

  • It takes courage to lead other people knowing that you are impacting their lives.
  • It takes courage to make important decisions that not everyone will agree with.
  • It takes courage to be authentic.
  • It takes courage to stand apart from popular opinion if that is what you believe is best for your team and the organization.
  • It takes courage to be resilient and to course correct after not achieving a goal or objective.
  • It takes courage to admit that you do not now, nor will you ever have all the answers.
  • It takes courage to check your biases and behave in fair and equitable ways.
  • It takes courage to take radical responsibility!
  • It takes courage to maintain the vision, inspire others, and lead change.
  • It takes courage to develop the person who might someday replace you.

This is by no means a comprehensive list describing what it takes to be an effective and courageous leader.

Courage like any other characteristic found in extraordinary leaders is a muscle that is developed over time.

Only experience in being courageous establishes the foundation for the ongoing development of courage.

Examine and acknowledge some of the areas in your role as a leader where you do not feel courageous. Decide to feel the fear and take one step forward in the direction of your fear.

Assess the outcome and determine if the result was overall beneficial. This does not mean that everyone will agree with you, enjoy the process, or support the outcome. It means that despite the fear you took actions that were for the benefit of the team and organization.

It means that you as the leader chose to be courageous and lead from the place of courage.

Be BOLD… develop your COURAGE!

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