Courageous leaders understand that their job entails doing important work for others. And, because there will always be differences of opinion and limited resources, they are willing to engage in difficult conversations and deliver bad news tactfully, even if the news may be hurtful to the other person.
Courageous leaders encircle oneself with people who challenge them rather than flatter them. They reward rather than punish those who attempt new things, even if they fail. They reform outdated systems that exclude different points of view.
Here are some core elements for a perspective that would be more appropriate in today’s environment.
Courageous leaders are open and humble.
Pretending to be fearless, no matter how valid the reasons for fear, or acting like a know-it-all, is not impressive. It’s dangerous, both for you and for those who rely on you.
When people know you’re competent, admitting “I don’t know” or saying “Please help with this” makes you appear stronger (rather than weak). Consider the numerous challenges encountered during the Covid-19 pandemic. Did you admire your leader if she came online and pretended like nothing was wrong? Or, alternatively, when she admitted she was facing a series of work and life challenges unlike any she had faced before, but was committed to getting through them together and growing as a group as a result?
Apologies are the same way. When a leader sincerely apologies and says, “I’m sorry, I messed that up,” we perceive that person to be more likable and trustworthy. We want to contribute to the improvement of the situation. We, on the other hand, do not consider someone to be a great leader or a hero if they conceal mistakes through lies or omissions.
Principles are prioritized by brave leaders.
Winning a popularity contest is not the goal of true leadership. This is about doing significant job for others. And, because there will always be differing views and limited resources, you’re unlikely to make much progress on that essential tasks if you can’t bear the thought of upsetting some people from time to time.
Being trusted and respected for the effectiveness of your decisions is a sign of good leadership. It is about taking brave action to defend core principles, even if it means jeopardizing one’s own popularity or having to stand in the short run.
Courageous leaders prioritize making their spaces safer for others.
In the vast majority of organisations, urging people to regularly stick their necks out in the face of legitimate fear isn’t exactly a sign of great leadership. Yet that is essentially what leaders who “encourage courage” are doing.
Leaders of today must surround and promote people who challenge them rather than flatter them. They should be given incentives rather than punishment. Those who attempt new things, even if they fail miserably should be motivated. They are reshaping old system that exclude multiple perspectives.
Today’s leaders must demonstrate brave action rather than demand it. They choose to be vulnerable, as Fred Keller did, even if their position, gender, race, or other prestige markers tell them not to.
Written & Compiled By Faber Mayuri and Faber Aleena
Image Source – Freepik.com