How to lead with courage

Dec 2, 2020



How to Lead With Courage


When we think of leaders, we might be tempted to think of courageous and heroic figures who are undeterred by danger, brave in the face of great challenge and bold where action is needed.


Of course, this is not the reality for most of us.


But that doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels.  It’s important to be courageous and heroic in our own way.  How we choose to lead with courage will be unique to us and most likely take it’s own form.



Leading through your own action


The best leaders are action-takers. When you lead through action, you set a positive example for your team and inspire them to follow your lead.  In this way, you can avoid one of the worst traits that any leader can possess: hypocrisy.


When leaders claim to have higher standards or beliefs than is the case, there are few things that will inspire their team to disengage as quickly as seeing their leader being hypocritical.


Nobody likes being asked to do things because they feel that their leader is simply unwilling or even afraid to do it themselves. Leadership comes with responsibility. Leaders who simply give the worst jobs to their team and not take part in it themselves show an abuse of their power.





Leading through your action also means being decisive. It means being able make timely decisions and willing to commit to the actions needed.


Indecisive leaders make the mistake of deferring or avoiding decision-making. Their fear is that they’ll make the wrong decision and lose the respect of their team.


However, being indecisive can be worse than making an unwise or incorrect decision. Being indecisive can lead to the loss of support from their team and while taking action can sometimes result in a less favourable outcome, delaying a decision will often lead to other unintended consequences.


It’s often inspiring to see someone who is able to make decisions and take action as this builds team confidence.





Being decisive means that you’re willing to take on the responsibility that comes with being a leader.  Being a leader doesn’t mean telling others what to do and it certainly doesn’t mean getting to take all the credit.


Being a leader means taking responsibility for your team: 

– protecting them, so they can do their best work

– making decisions and taking action

– being willing to deal with the consequences


When leaders don’t want to look bad they choose to avoid making decisions… and that is ultimately a mark of poor leadership and unwillingness to take on the responsibilities leadership brings.





Being a courageous leader can mean if you make a mistake, it’s not only important to own up to it, but also stay calm and collected.


The ability to stay calm in a crisis and demonstrate patient self-control will help pull everyone together when things seem to be going wrong.  Reassuring your team prevents them from going into a panic. Stay calm and you’ll be able to address the issue in the best possible way.



How to Lead with Courage


As you will see, leading with courage isn’t about taking on the characteristics of an action hero and acting tough, telling people what to do or being an extrovert when that’s not authentically you.


Leading with courage comes from having the right priorities. It means taking decisive action, taking responsibility and showing patient self-control so that you can focus on the goals of your organisation and the wellbeing of yourself and your team. When you do that, you will lead with courage.


Photo by Muzammil Soorma on Unsplash





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