How to Develop the 3 Hidden Qualities in Courageous Leadership

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In challenging times, leaders are called upon to exhibit inspiring levels of courage. But finding the ways to develop such courage can be a leader’s greatest challenge.

The traditional approach to courageous leadership has often been found in such qualities as bravado, fearlessness and sheer power of will. But today’s leadership landscape has changed, and with it has emerged far more effective, and often unrecognized, pathways to courage.

Here are the 3 most potent qualities that make up courageous leadership…

1. Humility

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.

2. Self-sacrifice

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 C. 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.

3. Resilience

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 challenges you face as a leader can be daunting. And this means you 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.

the author

Scott Cochrane

Lifelong learner, practitioner and coach of leadership, across more than 50 countries. Follower of Jesus, husband of Nora, grateful parent and grandparent.

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