The strength necessary to successfully engage in human revolution (personal transformation) is unrelenting courage.” – Dr. Daisaku Ikeda
As a child, we had no control of how our parents cared for us. In Junior High, we had no control of what kids did or didn’t say about us. As adults, we wonder if we will be loved by that special someone or if we will be worthy enough to be chosen for that job to be able to pay our bills. Even if we were blessed to be in the perfect family, be a popular kid in school and be working in our dream job, there is always the natural disaster or crazy, dangerous driver on the road to be mindful of.How do we have the strength to overcome our fears, especially if we have the honor of leading people and organizations? It requires manifesting courage.
It takes a lot of courage to manage people. But, to be a leader that people believe in, you must be a leader with unrelenting courage. (In fact, it is an essential leadership competency.) Humans do not like to be controlled. As the saying goes, they are like herding wild cats. And, humans take every opportunity to show you just how much they want their freedom, consciously or unconsciously. They will challenge you every day, for good reason and for bad. How do we face the inevitable confrontations without courage?
If we run away from the challenge, the problem keeps creeping back like a snake in the grass until it lays all its eggs and little baby snakes are slithering everywhere making life look like you live in a “Raiders of the Lost Ark” movie. But, when we find the courage to face our difficulties, we are rewarded with confidence – and an ever growing strength and determination to face the next obstacle. Our internal voice says, “That wasn’t so bad. Bring it on!” It’s like building an inner, empowering multi-level marketing scheme!
“When you have no fear, you have the courage to say what you think and feel in a calm and wise way.” – Suze Orman
Leading with courage takes commitment, with daily reaffirmation. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned along the way.
HOW TO BE A COURAGEOUS LEADER
- Accept that anyone that works for you has made a choice to follow you. It is up to you to prove they aren’t misguided.
- Do the right thing, even when it is scary. Sometimes this means taking action without the support of your staff.
- If you are right, don’t rub it in their face. If you were wrong, admit it.
- When we don’t know what the right thing to do is…have the courage to ask for input. It isn’t a weakness to say you don’t have the answer. It takes strength and guts to ask, “What do you think?” Sometimes it is scary to take a chance on someone else’s ideas.
- Courage is saying what needs to be said in the moment that it needs to be said.
- It takes courage to listen to an angry person and not react. Know that fear is masked by anger. If you realize they may be afraid, seek to understand.
- It takes courage to trust again and give someone another chance – especially if there is a chance it will reflect badly on us or our team.
- It takes courage to provide feedback to someone whose behavior needs to be adjusted…even more so if it is someone close to you.
- It takes courage to say you won’t go along with a plan you don’t believe in. Or, at least say you don’t agree.
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
― Winston Churchill
Leaders, What lessons in courage can you share with us?