Welcome back! It’s the second instalment of our 7 Deadly Skills – a series where we cover the top skills that differentiate great leaders from amazing ones.
Today, we’re looking at courage, and the role it plays in building successful and happy workplaces for leaders and team members alike.
Keep reading to find out why Zest think courage is an important leadership trope, and what you can do to
become a courageous leader yourself.
Why Is Courage Important in Leadership?
Throughout our lives, we meet crises, and that has never felt more relatable than after what we’ve all experienced (and continue to face) over the last few years. A leader with courage is not only able to come up against these situations, but can turn business challenges into opportunities.
It’s rarely going to be easy, but a courageous leader can recognise that – no matter how bleak the circumstance may seem – there is always a way to grow and learn. This might require some difficult decisions, but in the end, it’s all about turning a high stakes situation into something that can better you and your business.
What Does Courageous Leadership Look Like?
A leader with courage is easy to spot. For many of us, courage brings with it thoughts of bravery: diving into everything head-on and never wavering. A lot of that is relevant to courage’s role in the workplace. However, we think it runs much deeper than that.
For us, having the courage of conviction is an important element in leadership. Having clear values and principles at all times, and the dedication to stick to those is imperative. That being said, a courageous leader is also able to seek and receive feedback. Someone who isn’t afraid of openly seeking out honest, unfiltered feedback and learning from this, is putting themselves on the right path to success.
Courage also goes hand in hand with the ability to make changes. Innovation is critical for a business to grow, but change can be scary and won’t always go to plan. Having the strength and conviction to make changes, and grow from any potential failures, is an admirable quality. This goes hand in hand with being able to admit when you’ve made mistakes. Admitting when something has gone wrong shows vulnerability, which isn’t a bad thing. Owning your mistakes can help to build trust with those around you and will instil faith in you as a leader.
Finally, an important situation that all leaders need the courage to face is conducting difficult conversations. Running a business makes potentially difficult and uncomfortable conversations unavoidable. Therefore, being able to navigate these in an honest way that facilitates moving forwards – and being brave enough to recognise when it’s time to move away from an unproductive or unhelpful situation – is going to help a leader and their business thrive.
Becoming a Courageous Leader
So, now we know how courageous leadership can manifest itself in the workplace – but what steps can you take to get yourself there?
It’s not a straight road from A to B (and let’s be honest, what in leadership and development ever is?). That being said, there are definitely some practices you can put in place to help elevate yourself towards becoming a courageous leader:
Set Clear Standards & Expectations
Being an amazing leader means making it clear what you expect from both yourself and the people around you. This doesn’t mean playing it safe. Set your expectations a little higher and communicate them clearly. If you aim for the moon, you’ll hit the stars.
Hit Conflict & Discomfort Head On
We’ve already covered this above: leadership brings with it confrontation and difficult conversations. You should never shy away from these, they bring with them prime opportunities for transformation and growth. Instead of running away from difficult situations find the root of the problem and face it and learn from it.
Work on Decisiveness
As a leader, the people around you are relying on you to make decisions – to lead! This means it’s important to cut out the ‘hmm-in’ and ‘ha-ing’ and practise decisive decision making. This doesn’t mean you should rush into things without thinking about it, big decisions shouldn’t be made on a whim. What we’re saying is you should avoid procrastination and go for more yes’s and no’s as opposed to maybes.
Make Sure You Delegate
Delegation seems to come up a lot when we’re talking about leadership skills – and that’s because it is so important. Delegation is hard. It’s ingrained in us that if we want something done right, we should do it ourselves – but this is really dangerous in business.
You might think that courage in leadership means taking on the burden of the workload, when really it’s having the courage to let go of control and put your trust in the people around you.
This will have numerous benefits for you in the long run. It will build trust and faith in your team, give you more time to work on the things that are important and even help the people around you to grow and work on their own courage.
There you have it, our run down on courage in leadership and why it’s earned a place as one of our 7 Deadly Skills. As with every skill on this list, it’s not meant to be easy, Leading with courage takes work.
Courage weaves its way into everything we do as leaders, from change management to team development, rapport and growth. It’s not something that will come naturally to everyone, and it will take time and consistency to build courage in yourself and those around you.
To find out how Zest can help you and the people around you to build their courage and tackle everything we’ve spoken about above, email firstname.lastname@example.org today.