How to develop a culture of courageous leaders

Courage is a key part of leadership. Courageous leaders create courageous teams who are willing to take risks, step outside of their comfort zone and go the extra mile for each other, the customer and the company.

We all know courage when we see it but it can sometimes be difficult to define. We might not always see it as an essential part of the workplace, which more often than not calls for steady application rather than bold decisions.

The importance of courage in successful companies cannot be underestimated, however. What is courage in relation to leadership, why is it so important, and can it be developed


What is the role of courage in leadership?

Courage is a powerful word. We often associate it with great acts of bravery, perhaps in the armed forces, emergency services or acts by the general public when faced with great danger and adversity. We might attribute it to people who have faced serious illness with stoicism or who have battled through challenging times without losing heart.

While all of these examples can provide inspiration and insight into what courage is, they can also feel extraordinary. Most of us in our daily working lives are not called upon to act in a similar way. The challenges we face may seem more prosaic.

While few of us ever have to rescue people from a burning building, we are often presented with situations that call for a courageous response. People in leadership roles are sometimes faced with an option to make a bold, potentially more challenging decision, or to stick with the tried and tested because it’s familiar and the risks feel lower. Even if a team or an entire company is failing to perform, the temptation to stick with what seems safe and known can be great.

Courage is what makes the difference between accepting second best or making the bold decision to make positive changes. Being courageous is not about being reckless. It’s about being willing to make bold, ambitious decisions based on firm evidence and the expectation that it will deliver the results you are hoping for.

Why is developing courage important?

Courage plays an important role in the workplace. Courageous leaders are able to build trust, inspiring confidence in their teams. This, in turn, can make them act more courageously.

Courage also impacts accountability. In workplaces where teams act courageously, they’re also more willing and able to hold each other accountable for success and failures. Courageous leaders speak out when they see something wrong or want to address a failing aspect of the business.

Courage builds moral integrity and strength. Courageous leaders are respected because they act within a particular moral framework. They are not afraid of conflict but are able to handle conflict in a way that is constructive. Courageous leaders are purpose-driven, and once they make a decision they show a willingness to work resiliently towards achieving their goals.

Courageous leaders are authentic leaders inspiring confidence and create a supportive workplace culture where people can speak and act freely.

how to develop courage in leadership

What is an example of courage in the workplace?

Courageous leaders are always willing to take difficult decisions and won’t take particular options just because it’s easier or more familiar. Courageous leaders are assertive without being dictatorial and will take initiative without needing to be told what to do. They have a strong strategic sense that underpins their decision-making and follow that even if it means making decisions that may seem uncomfortable. They’re not afraid of conflict or of challenging bad practices but understand how to do this effectively.

Courage manifests itself in a myriad of ways in the workplace, impacting how individuals plan, make decisions and interact with their colleagues and clients.

How do you build courage in the workplace?<

Popular culture tells us that courage is innate. For some of us it might be obvious that we’re brave and courageous. For others, it might only be seen when we’re called upon in an emergency situation. In reality, everyday courage is something we can develop. We can all learn to become more courageous.

Courage can be developed as part of a leadership development programme.  

Developing courageous leaders with leadership coaching

Courage is a key attribute when it comes to developing leaders. Courageous leaders create courageous companies that are better able to grow, adapt and take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves.

At Leadership Success, we work with organisations to develop the skills and competencies of their teams. Our leadership development programmes can help your leaders develop the skills, confidence and competencies they need to act more courageously.

Contact us today to find out more about our industry-leading approach.

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