Among all the essential elements of leadership, courage is frequently undervalued. Courage is not just one of the virtues but the shape of every virtue at the testing point, or the moment of the highest reality. People do not follow positions rather they follow courage. In other words, courageous leadership is precisely the type of leadership required in today’s rapidly changing marketplace.
What Does Leading With Courage Mean?
Leading with courage is defined as “leading with the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face hardship, danger, pain, etc. without fear”. In hardship, courageous leadership is guided by core values and beliefs. Courageous leaders do not avoid taking risks because they worry about failing. They do not require external adulation and do not fear criticism.
Who Is a Courageous Leader?
A courageous leader inspires their team without stifling innovation. They set an example for others to follow and take command of the business, providing assurance to everyone behind them to perform to the best of their abilities.
Characteristics of Courageous Leadership
There are many characteristics of courageous leaders that make them superior to all other types of leadership. The following are the characteristics;
1) Courageous Leaders Are Aware
They have the courage to realize when to start up, step up, stay, and when to leave. Courageous and successful leaders know when it is the right time to switch duties, launch a new start-up, or take on a challenging position. Despite competing interests, they have strong intuition and are not afraid of difficult situations.
2) Courageous Leaders Define Objectives
They make bold and realistic objectives that they can actually accomplish. When courageous people awaken, their day has already been planned. They have very clear, high but attainable goals that play to their advantage. They put their entire efforts and potential into achieving objectives. They do not feel hesitate to ask for assistance from their team members.
3) Courageous Leaders Communicate Effectively
Courageous leaders communicate openly and frequently, even when they lack all the information. They keep the channels of communication open. Leaders with courage do not hide behind jargon and buzzwords; instead, they speak honestly and are not ashamed to admit if they do not know something. They also spread information rather than holding onto it.
4) Courageous Leaders Take Accountability for Themselves
They fully accept responsibility for who they are and what they do. They do not depend on others to complete the task, or if they do, they take responsibility for the results. Courageous leaders make use of their available resources and seek actively outcomes. When they find room for improvement, they instantly do it.
5) Courageous Leaders Learn from Failures
They are prepared to fearlessly fail in order to succeed eventually. All courageous and successful people are aware that nothing worthwhile comes with ease and that they are likely to fail more often than they succeed. They accept their mistakes without hesitation and learn lessons from them.
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Types of Courage Needed in Courageous Leadership
Courageous leadership includes four types of courage that are morally based and work in service of excellence, equity, and inclusion of all employees. These types are intellectually grounded in order to maintain a strong connection with the employees. The following are the types of courageous leadership:
- Managerial courage
- Intellectual courage
- Moral courage
- Social courage
1) Managerial Courage
A courageous manager is one who is willing to act in the best interests of the company and its culture, even if it is not the most popular or constructive course of action to take. They are responsible for meeting budgets, ensuring processes, and aligning goals. Managerial courage includes having hard and uncomfortable conversations. It indicates that a person, no matter how wonderful they are, isn’t living up to their potential.
2) Intellectual Courage
Intellectual courage is the acknowledgment that despite what you do know, you may not know all, and having no answer is okay. Intellectual Courage enables leaders to recognize the limitations of their own thinking when needed and embrace new ideas and information from others as an opportunity to improve.
Intellectual courageous leaders must be flexible to new ideas, discoveries, conclusions, and recommendations that can revolutionize their thoughts. Understanding the research isn’t enough. On the basis of the research, action must be taken to bring change.
3) Moral Courage
Moral courage is the ability to uphold one’s beliefs in the face of intense resistance. It is also known as civil bravery. It is the outward expression of the leader’s personal values and core beliefs. Moral Courage requires actions that ensure the social, emotional, and personal well-being of all employees.
4) Social Courage
Social courage is being authentically you. In our lives, many times we feel pressure to fit in. However, when a person integrates, he loses his true essence or voice under pressure. The individual traits and qualities that define a leader should never turn off. Social courage is never afraid of expressing your point of view, which may generate innovation for an organization. A socially courageous leader can stand out to his team by being able to articulate his ideas, even when they go against popular opinion.
10 Effective Ways to Lead With Courage
- Know Your Purpose
- Having the Courage of Determination
- Set Challenging Standards
- Having the Ability to Recognize Unproductivity
- Learn to Delegate
- Ask for Feedback
- Provide a Safety Net
- Share Your Journey from Pain to Purpose
- Be Honest
- Give Employees Credits
In an organizational framework, employees rarely go beyond their comfort zone unless they have support from the top. A courageous leader can create a culture where people are inspired to be courageous. It will increase engagement among employees and heighten the growth of the organization. The following are the ten effective ways to lead with courage:
1) Know Your Purpose
Courage is driven by purpose. Give yourself to a worthwhile cause. When you dedicate yourself to something that matters, you feel fulfilled. Courageous leaders do not discover themselves in isolation rather true leaders find themselves in collaboration. For example, Artists devote themselves to their craft, Parents devote themselves to raising their kids. Similarly, leaders dedicate themselves to a desired future. It could be a vision, a group, or a difficult objective.
2) Having the Courage of Determination
Courageous leaders always are ready to maintain their temper and be crystal clear about their ideas and guiding principles. They have the courage to uphold them even when it would be easier to make compromises in order to increase revenue, meet goals, or avoid uncomfortable or important talks. They will constantly make an effort to act morally upright rather than quickly.
3) Set Challenging Standards
A courageous leader should set standards of excellence for the products that seem unattainable and challenging. Safe leaders with safe visions set safe goals. Provide your team with an objective that fears them and lets them make decisions in a critical situation. So, this overcomes their fear as you are producing leaders who have the courage to conquer even the toughest situations.
4) Having the Ability to Recognize Unproductivity
A courageous leader must have the ability to recognize unproductive, unhealthy, or unhelpful conditions and to leave them. They should be able to identify these for what they are and move away from them in favor of more constructive initiatives that benefit both them and their organization.
5) Learn to Delegate
This is one of the most courageous tasks a leader can do. Trusting employees with important duties requires letting go and giving up control. Give your staff responsibility and authority. Give your team the opportunity to take the lead if you want them to be courageous.
6) Ask for Feedback
Being open to feedback requires courage and emotional intelligence. Great leaders ask employees and respected individual contributors about feedback by asking questions like “How am I doing as a leader?” And then they listen and improve as per suggestions. They are interested in receiving constructive criticism.
The key to being a courageous leader is acting on the feedback you get. This demonstrates to staff members your interest in their opinions. This conveys the message that they will be heard, taken seriously, and properly treated if they come to you with problems, questions, or concerns.
7) Provide a Safety Net
Courageous leaders must ensure to provide a safety net in place to encourage their employees. Nobody wants to take a chance only to suffer the horrible experience of being rejected or abruptly fired. When failure occurs, you as the leader can act as the safety net by encouraging the worker, providing helpful, constructive criticism, and refraining from using harsh words.
8) Share Your Journey from Pain to Purpose
All people encounter persistent difficulties, but only a few use these experiences to create a story that directs their life’s work. True leaders build situations where courage and openness are expected when they recognize their life’s difficulty, conquer it, and then assist others in doing the same. As a result, people start to trust a leader more, develop relationships, and interact with the leader in new ways.
9) Be Honest
The top quality that employees look for in leaders is honesty. Speaking the truth is part of being courageous. A leader who is honest is also more likely to succeed in their objectives. This is due to the fact that they can establish trust with their staff and are less likely to face opposition from others.
10) Give Employees Credits
Leaders with courage do not look for compliments from those around them. Instead, they give credit to deserving people. When an employee does well, they let them know. They do not need to claim the credit. Rather they take the blame more than the credit.
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How to Lead With Courage in Difficult Times?
Leaders face a number of challenging and difficult situations where they have to act calmly and courageously to lead the other team members. They cannot sit simply and do nothing, rather they accept failure and try for improvements even in difficult times. Following steps, courageous leaders take in difficult times:
1) Courageous Leader Keeps Trying in Difficult Times
Working with courage also demands persistence. Despite the challenges, a courageous leader should be inclined to persevere in learning and to keep trying. Additionally, observing, practicing, and cultivating the character strength of perseverance or persistence is possible.
2) Courageous Leaders Take Inspiration from Their Ideals
Looking up to heroes and your ideals can demonstrate moral courage in difficult times. Take them and their meaningful life as an inspiration. According to fundamental social cognitive theory, we are driven by “vicarious experiences” as we observe other people’s behavior. Employees are more likely to sense the potential for organizational change and feel motivated to act bravely when they witness courageous actions in the workplace, such as a leader standing up for team members or a colleague promoting an important policy.
3) Remind Your Values
Courage is considered a foundational virtue because it directs us to act on behalf of other principles or values. In essence, courageous deeds can be influenced by our convictions, values, sense of honor, and loyalty. We are prone to behave in a way that maintains our ideas and values when we feel that our moral code is in danger. If your beliefs are stronger, you will not be affected by any external force.
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There are many advantages to having courageous leaders inside an organization as courageous leaders are essential for real success. Certainly optimistic, bold, and confident leadership can drive organizations forward and foster progress. Leadership by courageous individuals is authentic and long-lasting. They adhere to their values, are open to change, take risks, and innovate. They don’t give up when things are challenging and tough.
Courageous leaders have the ability to foster an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust, which makes people more likely to follow them. All of this results in a strategy for success, growth, and evolution inside an organization.
What are the three advantages of courageous leadership?
The three advantages of courageous leadership are: Courageous leadership provides confidence and security to the team, provides a platform to attract true leaders, and increases the chances of success.
Why is Courageous Leadership needed?
Courage is not an innate virtue to respond to difficult situations, rather it can be learned. With practice, it can be made better. Courageous leadership is needed to have a clear purpose, self-awareness, self-impact, integrative thinking, and the inclusion that matters.
How a leader can show courage in an organization?
A leader can show courage by fighting the right battle at the right time, being honest, and respectful, and having the courage to say “ NO” when needed.
Can a leader without courage be a great leader?
Courage is the mother of all virtues. Without courage, a leader can never be a great leader. Courage is the key to great leadership. The courage of action and initiative, the courage of voice, and the courage of putting confidence in others leads to great leadership.