“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill
Courage Overview
It is easy to think of those who exhibit physical courage – first responders, soldiers, and others who put their lives on the line. In business, we are most concerned about moral courage – making tough decisions, accepting responsibility for costly mistakes, or needing to restructure an organization to get better results. Followers expect their leaders to act with courage and face the obstacles to success. If a team has a problem to be solved or a decision to be made, regardless how difficult, they need to know their leader will lead and show wisdom and resolve in the situation.

Why Courage is Important to a Leader

Courageous leaders are determined to achieve success with integrity. Leaders are often faced with difficult conversations that are the outcome of difficult decisions. If a leader does not act in a difficult circumstance, credibility will suffer and the team will suffer. Leaders must not only do the right thing, they must be consistent in their moral direction, regardless of the pressures to do otherwise.

Benefits for the Leader

It is not easy to be courageous and undertake difficult tasks or engage in seemingly impossible situations. But, leaders who take action and persevere in the face of difficulties will succeed. Courage is also contagious and will spread to other leaders in the organization. You will become more confident in your decisions and the outcomes you achieve.

Top 3 Coaches Recommendations for Courage
  1. Courageous leaders take the high road, even when it is difficult. Do you have a set of principles that guide your behavior? If not, take some time to think of what your moral compass should be in your work life.
  2. Do you seek feedback on your performance? It often requires courage to ask others how they perceive you and your performance. Actively seek feedback from your senior leaders, peers, direct reports, and customers.
  3. Do you admit mistakes? Courageous leaders learn from their mistakes and are not hesitant to admit them to others when necessary.
Measure and Improve Your Courage

Be determined to improve your courage. Take the short courage self-assessment on this page to identify where to improve your courage skills and behaviors. Then, get more coaches’ recommendations in Chapter 19 of The Leadership Compass: Mapping Your Leadership Direction to help you fine-tune your courage.

Related Competencies:


Measure your courage skills and behaviors!

Select your level of agreement with each statement in the self-assessment.
When answering the questions, consider how others might evaluate your courage.

Recommended Courage Books:
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