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Monday, November 6, 2023

Leadership Requires Courage

Courage is essential in the professional realm because it allows us to face challenges and take risks, to take the next step with confidence. Leaders who have courage are those who dare to lead by example, who can make difficult decisions and act accordingly, even when the outcome is not certain. They are those who are willing to take risks to do new things, innovate, and are willing to fail. 

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! 

Winston Churchill said, “Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others.” “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.” 

All men and women of great accomplishments have possessed this supreme character trait. Fear does not make on a coward; failure to face fear does. The courageous achievers in every generation have confronted challenges and overcome obstacles even when they were afraid. Courage enables you to speak up when it would be easier to remain silent. We call this having the courage of your convictions. Courage emboldens you to try new ideas when you risk failure. Courage inspires you to pursue your dreams even when you risk disappointment. 

However, courage never exists in a vacuum. People are not courageous for the sake of courage. You must develop it by living a purposeful life committed to deeply held values and meaningful goals. You must strengthen it by repeatedly choosing to confront your fears. As you set goals and strive to achieve them in all areas of your personal and business life – as you face your daily challenges with positive actions – your courage and confidence will grow. When you believe in yourself, others will rally to your cause. Courage will imbue you with a leadership quality that your team will support and respect. 

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. 

Are you courageous? Are you willing to take risks for something you believe in? Are you ready to endure hardship for the sake of a cause? Are you able to make sacrifices for the sake of your values? 

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