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On Becoming a More Courageous Leader
Courageous leaders have the same fears and trepidations as everyone else but make the choice to act anyway. We know a leader is courageous by what they do.
We’d all agree that it takes courage for leaders to admit their mistakes, buck a trend, challenge consensus, ask for criticism, and send tough messages.
It’s not clear to many experts as to why some leaders can act courageously and others seem to fold in the face of challenge and discomfort. The idea that leaders can develop their courage seems a foreign idea to those who believe courage and bravery are innate qualities leaders are born with.
Yet, studies of leaders who consistently exhibit courage have revealed that values play a much more important role than any link to family history. A deep commitment to a potential outcome or a strong belief about an issue or person allows leaders to behave more courageously.
This is commonly known as the courage of conviction. Leaders rally their ability to stare down their fear when they have a powerful conviction about the people or issues involved.
Look a little closer at leaders who behave courageously and you will learn that it is the steadfast commitment to personal values that matters most. Leaders who know their values and stick to them regardless of the circumstances or social pressure are more likely to act courageously. In the face of extreme challenge, where fear can easily take over, they brace themselves with their values and do what needs to be done.
Leaders can learn to become more courageous by reviewing their core values and establishing a deep and abiding commitment to them. Reminding themselves of what they stand for and saying so frequently with their team helps to bolster courage when it is needed. Any leader can become more courageous by becoming a more values-based person.
Having courage doesn’t mean leaders run toward danger or relish trepidation. It means leaders don’t let fear stop them from acting. Knowing and acting on their most deeply cherished values is how the best leaders push through and act courageously.