Courage: Leading the WayPosted on December 1, 2019
Vicki Noel, MLHR, SHRM-SPC, SPHR
Why are leaders hesitant to focus on this?
Fear is one of the most debilitating emotions preventing effective leadership from developing and courageous cultures from thriving. When fear rules us as leaders, we avoid tough conversations and giving honest feedback. We avoid taking risks or putting our ideas out there for fear of being made fun of or failing. We avoid conversations about diversity or inclusion for fear of saying something wrong. We fear not being “perfect,” which can keep our teams locked in a safe box, not growing or trying new things. Leading with courage is scary, messy and uncertain.
What is the case for doing it anyway?
Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, is attributed to the quote “what stands in the way becomes the way.” If we intend to become a high-reliability organization, we need leaders to have the courage to face the fear that stands in our way. Courageous leaders bravely lead others to overcome, not succumb to those barriers. We must fearlessly lead the way through our own modeled behavior.
Unpacking fear and the effects courage, or the lack thereof, can have on leadership effectiveness is a personal leadership journey for me. I had the pleasure of being introduced to Brene Brown, best selling author, and researcher, at a human resources conference last summer. Her latest book, Dare to Lead, is a resource I have used to process this concept personally. Over the next several weeks, I will reference this and other resources for leadership courage behaviors and how I might apply them to my life. I hope you will do the same. The blog series will explore the four categories of courageous leadership behaviors described below.
How can you do it?
Courageous leaders “rumble” with vulnerability. Dealing with our fears and those of others requires someone to take the first step to “rumble.” Rumble, in this strategy, refers to having a real conversation even if it is tough. A courageous leader demonstrates their willingness to be vulnerable by remaining open, curiously listening and owning our junk we bring to the conversation.
Courageous leaders live “into” their values. Daring leaders who live their values are never silent about hard things. First, it is essential to identify what core values we have, but then living “into” them, or practicing them, will provide the strength to demonstrate behaviors that align with those beliefs.
Courageous leaders brave trust. Courageous leaders lead with integrity or chose courage over comfort. Teams that serve with a leader they can trust have more confidence to take risks and innovate.
Courageous leaders own their own stories. Leaders that can own their stories of mistakes, failures, setbacks, and hurt have the power to write their ending, as opposed to the story owning them.
What questions about leading with courage would you like addressed during this blog series? Log on and join the conversation at www.somc.org/blog. We learn best from each other’s experiences.