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Why Do Some Executives Do Courage Well and Others Don’t

You have to DO what you want to BE.

In history, we can look back at executive level leaders who exercised Courage in the face of incredible adversity. Lincoln, Mandela, Zelenskyy are some examples. We have the advantage of watching these leaders, who’s decisions actually impact entire countries, and honor them for the character they’ve displayed.

The stakes are high for leaders in the c-suites of major corporations, or for division and group vice presidents in those corporations. The stakes are high for law enforcement executives and for their counterparts in the fire services. And we don’t want to minimize what is at stake for small business owners or non-profit executives.

What is at stake? Other people’s jobs, community health and safety, organization financial performance, public sentiment, employee retention, moral and legal codes of conduct….

There is a lot that weighs on people who have climbed to the upper rungs of the ladder in their chosen profession. The pressure can be enormous, and it is often a lonely job. Very few people can understand what it is like unless they have been there themselves and felt that pressure.

Some leaders have famously failed under that pressure: Presidents, CEO’s, and local government leaders. Some have risen to the challenge and responded with Courage. What is the difference between these two groups? Most leadership failures are in fact character failures. And character failures can often be traced back to fear.