Are you a courageous leader? Do you boldly share new ideas and drive plans to completion? Do you give your team the confidence it needs to accomplish your goals? These and many other positive leadership traits result from harnessed courage. To be sure you’re practicing the most courageous leadership style you can, look over this list of the top things that courageous leaders know.
The Meaning of Courage
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”
― Mark Twain
Whether you’re leading a business department or a battle, there will be situations that demand mastery of fear. These are the times when stakes are high and risks may be aplenty. Someone is going to need the guts to make bold decisions in order to cultivate a positive outcome. As the person in charge of handing down orders, the leader must master apprehension and bravely move forward in the face of adversity.
That They Do Not Know Everything
Perhaps it seems counterintuitive, but those famous words of Socrates, “I know that I know nothing”, reflect the foundation that courageous leaders build their bravery upon — humility. Courageous leaders know that no matter how knowledgeable or powerful one person becomes, everyone always has something new to learn, and they aren’t afraid to learn more.
That They Are Nothing Without Their Team
Courageous leaders know that they need others’ support in order to accomplish their goals, and they are not afraid to admit that. They don’t shy away from giving credit where it’s due. They openly recognize others’ successes without fearing loss of personal recognition, because they know that their accomplishments are a result of teamwork.
That Change Is Not an Option
Two great quotes really amplify this key concept. You may have heard them before:
“The only thing that is constant is change.”
― Heraclitus, Ancient Greek Philosopher
“What’s dangerous is not to evolve.”
― Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon.com
Leadership is all about change. When something changes, the leader is in charge of deciding how to respond. There will be many people who oppose change, especially those who are comfortable with the status quo. But a courageous leader knows that the team behind him must always be evolving and improving, and a great leader serves as the top facilitator of necessary change.
That Sometimes Good Decisions Will Be Unpopular
Courageous leaders aren’t afraid to follow through with decisions that receive negative responses. Of course, it’s crucially important to consider the validity of any disagreement. However, if you have consulted with knowledgeable sources and carefully considered the facts, and you believe in your heart that you have chosen the ideal course of action, you must remember that good decisions are often unpopular. Have the courage to trust yourself and be bold in your decisions.
That Their Values Are Paramount
A leader is chosen based on two key things: character and skills. Because values are so much a part of character, courageous leaders know they are obligated to defend their ethical convictions. They have committed their ethical reputation to a team who depends on reliable decision-making. So when a courageous leader’s values are challenged, he isn’t afraid to defend them.
“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”
― Roy Disney, Walt Disney Executive
If you want to be the most courageous leader you can be, clarify your own values for yourself. What’s important to you? What do think is worth fighting for? How do you want to be remembered? Decide these things and courageously stand for them.
That Enforcing Their Performance Standards Is Necessary to Succeed
Courageous leaders know that standing up for their values and decisions is even more influential when they demand that others meet their standards as well. One of the most difficult things for a leader to do is to tell team members what they don’t want to hear, but you must conquer that fear and put your opinions on that table if you want to follow through on a solid plan of action. Take performance issues seriously and hold both yourself and your team accountable.
If you’re unafraid to march toward success without fear of failure or criticism, your courage will distinguish you as a truly great leader.