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12 Courageous Acts of Leadership

Meetings suck, problems persist, and relationships degrade because of cowardice.

Mediocrity persists for lack of courage.


You begin with a dream, but the real issue is courage.

12 courageous acts of leadership:

  1. Doubt first thoughts and question intuitions.
  2. Extend trust.
  3. Stop talking and listen.
  4. Let others be right.
  5. Ask awkward questions.
  6. Confront issues that hurt others.
  7. Challenge average in order to pursue exceptional.
  8. Comfort.
  9. Connect.
  10. Say, “I was wrong. Please forgive me.”
  11. Surrender control while remaining responsible.
  12. Honor the success of others without mentioning your contribution.

Bonus: Explore rather than defend.

Finding courage:


Malcolm Gladwell surprised me when he started talking about forgiveness, when I asked him about courage. I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

  1. Unforgiving leaders have fearful followers.
  2. Forgiveness emboldens forward movement after failure.
  3. Individuals who can’t forgive their own failures fear trying again.


I asked Simon Sinek where courage comes from.

“Courage comes from the courage of others around us. When you meet people with courage it gives you courage. When somebody believes in you, that gives you courage.”

“I’ve been very lucky that I’ve met some amazing people who have much more courage than I.” Simon Sinek.


Paralyzing fear grips you when you think about distant goals but neglect next steps.

A goal without a next step defeats you.

One courageous step invites the next. Inaction, on the other hand, fuels fear and confusion. The fearful use confusion as an excuse to do nothing.

Passion is useless without courage.

Focus on the near present not the distant future. What can you do now?


What do courageous acts of leadership look like?

Where does courage come from?

Gladwell’s latest book: “David and Goliath

Sinek’s latest book: “Leaders Eat Last

Thanks to the people at the World of Business Ideas for connecting me with Malcolm Gladwell and Simon Sinek.

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