Courageous Leadership Skills: Backers and Busters

Courage is often is considered as taking bold life or death actions: someone who runs into a burning building to save a child or lands a plane on the Hudson with no deaths as Captain Sully Sullenberger did. But, there are every day examples that demonstrate courage actions—the actions that reveal our “heart and spirit” (the original definition of courage) such as eliminating the busters called conformity and complacency.

Check off the behaviors you, your team, or your organization demonstrate and note where you’re weighted in your courage branding value.

Courage Backers—Ways Leaders Construct Courage
•  Being an advocate for continued learning
•  Admitting mistakes (holding oneself 100% accountable)
•  Listening for intent
•  Keeping promises and stating them clearly (applying sophisticated linguistic skills)
•  Asking a lot of “you questions” versus “I” statements
•  Revealing vulnerability such as admitting when you don’t know anything about the topic
•  Demonstrating positive actions (saying, “Why not!”) versus being a naysayer
•  Seeking feedback
•  Sustaining rapport with employees at all levels (equal playing field)
•  Implementing collaboration (versus consensus)
•  Eliminating courage killers such as conformity and complacency
•  Reflecting before responding (rediscover silence)

Courage Busters—Ways Leaders Corrode Courage
•  Favoritism versus treating people equally
•  Focused on their own advancement/posturing
•  Afraid to take risks such as asking for the tough project no one wants
•  Disengaged from staff members
•  Not keeping people informed (hoarding data)
•  Unhealthy ego that bullies, both overt and covert such as “them versus us”
•  Lack of transparent communication
•  Not organized (more reactive—“last person in wins”)
•  Unable to be reflective before responding (“I am so busy” mantra)
•  Incapable to admit errors and take responsibility
•  Minimal insight to understand the human condition based on personality tools
•  Unable to acknowledge a problem exists (denial—denial is saying “no” to courage)
•  Powerless to respond to “first red flags”
•  Perpetuates a culture of corruption: “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”

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