It takes courage not lack of fear to lead.
Seven things gutless leaders do:
- Create complexity that protects them from decision-making responsibility. Cowards lurk in the protective shadows of bureaucracy.
- Let fear rather than vision control decisions.
- Talk more than listen. Churchill wisely said, “… courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
- Dodge honesty with questions. Sometimes, “What do you think?” is avoidance.
- Cling to familiarity and reject the unknown. Raymond Lindquist said, “Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.”
- Pretend they have the answers. Yesterday, Traci Fenton of Worldblu reminded me some organizations and leaders still propagate the “omniscient leader myth”.
- Compromise their virtues and values. C.S. Lewis powerfully observed, “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”
Five things courageous leader do:
- Love deeply. Love crushes fear. Ambrose Redmoon explained, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” Leaders that love courageously do what’s best for others and their organizations.
- Reflect on and live by their values authentically.
- Give generously.
- Extend honor lavishly.
- Face criticism humbly. Tough problems have more than one solution. Translation, someone won’t be happy. People on the other side of an issue may be right.
Finding your courage
For me, finding courage begins with facing fear. It includes asking, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Additionally, courage includes expressing my fears to trusted allies. Most importantly, courage is embracing a people-centered vision and aggressively pursuing it by always pressing one step beyond.
Can you add to my lists?
How can leaders find their courage?
If you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy the story of G.J. Hart: A Different Kind of Courage