What is the one thing every employee hopes to have and every business needs for ultimate success? Courage and courageous high impact leadership – the ability to stand up for yourself in the face of all odds and also represent the company.
A courageous leader can find it within himself or herself to lead by example. They know how to take risks and are not afraid to make and learn from their mistakes. Not every leader is courageous, but they sure can use the qualities that come with it.
Courage is not a natural trait such as kindness and empathy and often needs to be learned and honed by overcoming adversities in life. Developing courage can also help a high impact leader to grow as a person. What does this trait look like in the office and how can courageous leaders get an upper hand?
How do courageous leaders work? What do they do differently?
Let us first define what courage might look like with a short story. Dhruv has just begun his career as an intern at a SaaS marketing firm. He is new to this field and is open to learning from everyone around him. He isn’t afraid to try and speak up whenever required to create a leadership impact.
He takes criticism constructively and never hesitates to voice his opinions. This makes his seniors like his mindset and they always give him new opportunities. Dhruv uses these chances to prove himself and gives his best even if he feels he might fail. He takes the time to build bonds with people, but trusts them enough to delegate work.
When he becomes a leader at the same company, he makes sure to use his employees well for their strengths. He relinquishes control and lets his employees arrive at the desired results with their creativity. He is not a micro-manager and his employees like him for his openness and empathy.
How is this courageous?
Dhruv might sound like a typical employee who is building an executive presence, but he is showcasing five types of courage here.
Thought courage is displayed when he guides the team with his thought leadership. Trust courage comes into play when he gives them the freedom to work as they please. Try courage shines when he takes the first step despite not being able to see the top of the staircase. He becomes a leader and uses his Speak courage to share his views and beliefs without fear of judgment. This also helps him share criticism where it is due and accept it graciously, taking it in his stride. Finally, he uses Empathy courage which is also a form of courage as it takes bravery to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
In a global perspective, we could use powerful leaders like Elon Musk for Thought courage as he uses his strong vision and goals to guide his team members, but he might not make the cut on the trust courage front. This is because he often controls his team and fires anyone who puts a toe out of line.
We understand here that while there are many types of courageous leadership in the modern scenario, no leader showcases all five. You can find a trace of all five traits in some leaders who use different team effectiveness models. But there will always be one dominant trait. With that being said, let’s go back to our first question.
What do courageous leaders do differently?
It isn’t what you do. What matters is how you do it and with what intentions you perform your actions. We can safely say that no matter what needs to be done, the most courageous leaders perform things with bravery and determination. To keep this simple, let’s say courageous leaders do one thing while demonstrating their high impact leadership – COURAGE.
C – Communicate openly and honestly
Communication is key no matter what leadership style you go for. Be willing to have real conversations with your team and handle conflicts smoothly. Communication involves saying what needs to be said and not brushing them under the rug for later.
Stay open with your team and let them know about the business’s success and failure. It is a sign of courage if you can say “I don’t know” and learn from others. You are making them warm up to you by giving them credit for knowing more than you.
O – Optimistic at all times
Be it a word of praise to people who deserve recognition or a positive outlook while accepting a new client, courageous leaders are optimistic. They say things as they are and manage to see the opportunities even in difficult situations.
If there are 99 things wrong with a project, they find the 1 reason to hold on and keep charging forward. This optimism helps them shape the mindset of the team and gain followers while building executive presence.
U – Understand accountability
Be a role model and lead by example for your team to emulate. If you expect your team to deliver their commitments on time, you need to do the same. Courageous leaders lead by example and never blame their subordinates when things go wrong.
They hold people accountable and don’t mind losing their popularity while demanding results. The team stands together as the strength of the team is the collective effort of every single employee.
R – Reveal vulnerability
Courageous people are a class apart, but don’t hesitate to show everyone how human they are. They reveal their deepest fears, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities while admitting mistakes.
They allow people to criticize their work and never let their egos get in the way. If things aren’t going smoothly in the business, they communicate it to their team and welcome them to offer a solution.
A – Adapt to new changes
Courageous leaders are open to innovation and creativity. These assets come with change and they need to always be on their feet. They take risks and adapt to new circumstances and changes quickly.
Even if it means removing an employee from the team or jumping into a new deal at once, they tackle things head-on. Being courageous means you can change direction at short notice and lead your team confidently to do the same seamlessly.
G – Give constructive criticism
They empower their team to give them constructive criticism and do the same. It might be hard and uncomfortable to hear feedback from your juniors. But to the courageous leaders of today, there is no seniority complex.
The fact that they are also learning and don’t always have all the answers propels them to encourage guidance. Every person will have a voice to suggest changes and debate with the team.
E – Establish higher standards
It is always good to lead by example and shine your courage on your team. As a courageous leader, you first need is to come to terms with your decision. You need to be brave and take the courageous route at all obstacles.
Such leaders greet each day with the resolve to be courageous and keep setting higher standards for themselves. They know that courage is a choice and they choose it every day to enhance their team effectiveness models.
Courageous high impact leadership is a state of mind that comes in many forms. While some leaders show their courage through their words, others show it through their thoughts. Some show it through their actions and others through their feedback.
At the end of the day, no matter what your style of leadership is, be sure to follow our COURAGE formula. It works no matter what niche you specialize in as these are vital aspects for the success of all businesses.
As a leader, use your courage to reflect progress and confidence in the team. Wanting to become courageous is itself a form of courage. You can hone your leadership skills and emerge as a person your team can trust by learning from the very best with us.