Friday, March 8, 2013

Lean Quote: Courage is the Key to Great Leadership

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." — Winston Churchill


Leadership takes making bold and often unpopular decisions. Effective leadership requires courage - to stand up for what is right, for what we believe in, and to take the necessary risks to be innovative and creative.

The courage of a leader will inspire commitment from their followers. Billy Graham said, "Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened." When a leader demonstrates courage, it encourages others to want to follow. Seeing the courage of a leader will inspire courage in the followers. A courageous leader is inspirational!

An important lesson I have learned is that the entire workforce wins when everyone shows up to work each day with more courage.  With less fear and more courage, workers take on harder projects, deal better with change and speak up more willingly about important issues. In short, courageous workers try more, trust more and tell more. As a business leader and entrepreneur, your job is to put courage inside of people— to encourage them.

It takes courage to be a change agent, to rise up and lead the way when others are filled with fear. It takes courage to walk in a different direction when others walk along a contrasting path. Most important, it takes courage to drive persistence to overcome resistance…to find comfort outside your comfort zone when the promise of reward is ambiguous.

The courage of true leadership is revealed while still standing in the midst of controversy and challenging circumstances. It is relatively easy and requires little effort to stay in your comfort zone or to do what is convenient. Courage is not required to stay comfortable. Leaders need essential people skills to get people to work together smoothly even if some compromise may be needed. However, it also takes courage to make a stand on what you believe to be right.


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