Courage Defined: Acting despite perceived or actual risk.
It’s frustrating when people have allowed me to make poor decisions without speaking up. I have made decisions and moved strategies forward only to find out later I was operating off of misguided assumptions or partial information. This has happened at work and at home.
At work, I rolled out an entire strategic plan for our sales team requiring each person to be in front of certain customers on a weekly basis. During that team meeting, I was passionate about my idea and pushed the team to implement my plan. It wasn’t until two weeks later that I discovered few people could actually get in to see their targets at that frequency. We wasted an entire meeting and additional two weeks on the strategy. It wasn’t until later that I heard from people that they had doubts from the beginning. The same thing has happened with my kids as well. Each time it happened - at work or at home - I was not happy!
“Why didn’t anybody say anything?” In both cases, my frustration with good people damaged our relationships and in turn their desire to follow me in the future.
When I do keynotes or lead seminars I always start with the same question: “Would you follow you?” Maybe I should have looked in the mirror at my own choices.
What I have realized through the years is I am guilty of staying silent as well. At work and at home, I have allowed others to make mistakes without speaking up. I have said nothing early on and then finally chimed in with my opinion when it was too late to change the outcome. Why? Usually it was a comfort thing. I was uncomfortable at the moment, so I stayed silent.
As Leaders of Character, we need to look at ourselves first. Before we get frustrated with others, we need to evaluate “am I living up to my own expectations.” I know I don't. Even though I preach about becoming a Leader of Character, I don't always do what Leaders of Character do. “You have to DO what you want to BE!” is a direct quote from our book. Yet I find myself falling short of practicing that principle.
To be a Leader of Character who exercises Courage, we must choose to exercise Courage until it becomes a habit. And before we expect those behaviors from the people we are called to lead, we must build that muscle ourselves. Otherwise, we are hypocrites who expect more from others than we expect from ourselves.
How can we exercise Courage?
Give our supervisors all the information we have, even if they may not like what we have to say.
Allow others to ask “Why?” and challenge our assumptions. This requires Humility as well.
Challenge our boss’ or our spouse’s preconceived ideas in order to help them make a wiser decision.
Courage is like a muscle, we must exercise it consistently. The key to growth is the smaller day to day choices we make. They prepare us to be strong enough to exercise Courage when we face bigger choices within our work lives or our family lives.
Whatever choice we make is setting us up to make the same choices again in the future. Are we choosing our comfort or are we choosing Courage? We have to DO what we want to BE.
Dig Deep Questions:
When I am uncomfortable, what do I choose?
When I am uncertain of another person’s reaction, what do I choose?
Exercising Courage takes work and is a lifelong journey. We want to partner with you as you practice the habit of Courage daily, which is why we have created FREE tools and resources to guide your journey.
To make it easy to keep the definition of Courage visible on your screens and devices, we would like to share our FREE Courage backgrounds for desktop and mobile available for download at: https://www.becomingaleaderofcharacter.com/tools-resources