In today’s turbulent times, leaders are being called upon to lead with more courage than ever before. But how can you lead courageously, when you’re just not feeling particularly brave?
One glance at the ongoing crisis in eastern Europe reveals inspiring examples of courageous leadership in action. But while most leaders will never be called upon to lead in the context of such a crisis, the qualities of such courageous leadership can, and should, be developed within each leader.
It starts by understanding the qualities that make up courageous leadership…
True courage is rooted in humility.
Humility is not lack of confidence. You can and should be very comfortable in your abilities as a leader. But at the same time, you must possess a level of self-awareness that allows you to elevate the skills and potential of everyone around you.
True humility places the accomplishment of the mission above all else, and seeks to give credit to the team as you achieve the goals.
Keep your focus on the mission, and keep the spotlight on your team. Because the more you grow in humility, the more you’ll develop the courage to lead in challenging times.
Courageous leaders must be able to stare down the biggest of challenges and be willing to place the good of the mission ahead of self-promotion or personal achievement.
In his book, Be All You Can Be, John Maxwell writes, “Insecure people are survivors; they are not willing to take risks…The person who doesn’t have to survive says, ‘Here I stand; I can do nothing else.”
When you have arrived at the place where you can genuinely say that, for the sake of the mission, “I don’t have to survive”, you have taken a huge step in the direction of courageous leadership.
The call to lead during challenging times can be exhausting.
Sometimes the easiest way out is to simply back away from making the tough call, or to avoid the difficult matters altogether.
But courageous leaders have learned to develop a spirit of resilience that pushes through.
Build your resilience, and you’ll be building your courage.
The turbulent state of our world is throwing unprecedented challenges at us. And this means leaders must face each challenge with increasing levels of courage.
So dig deep and shore up your qualities of humility, self-sacrifice and resilience. As you do, you will develop the courage you need to face the highest stakes challenges of leadership…
…and to prevail.