3 Ways You Can Boost Courageous Leadership

A working mother who witnesses her boss harassing a co-worker must face the truth and take realistic action. Since this defining moment could affect her livelihood, taking action requires making tough choices. The woman’s courage holds the capacity to change the situation, to right a wrong and to model courage.

If you want to stand out as a leader of your own life, you need to let your true self shine. We’re not talking about the big ego or the political moves we often see as someone manoeuvres to get ahead. We’re talking about the authentic you that shows up and contributes to your fullest extent.

That isn’t always easy but with daily decisions to be your authentic self, you can boost your courageous leadership skills at work (and home). Each of us must reflect on our own life lessons in order to recognise the misperceptions and attachments that keep us stuck in our false identities and counterproductive patterns.  Below are just three examples:

  1. Encourage Candour

People at work witness what we stand for, and straight (unambiguous) talk gets attention because it is uncomfortable for most people. Speaking with courage means learning to speak with your own voice, to express the truth that flows from your own “heart and spirit”—the opposite of fear of ridicule, dismissal and being ostracised. Candour is a cousin to courage. It is only by learning to express ourselves from our own courageous identities that we begin to employ the courage action skill called “showcase your talents” that moves us beyond invisibility (the courage obstacle).

Are you still waiting for clients or management to notice your contributions? If so, begin to reveal your talents by branding your performance results. That is what Emilio Navarro, solutions engineering team leader, proposes. “I always use courage at work while making decisions, while talking to people, while interacting with clients. Courage is who you are, and the decisions you make are how you work and think about different aspects of business and life. Martin Luther King Jr. showed what he was made of when he explained his viewpoints in a transparent style.”

Emilio works for a company that promotes openness, allowing employees to showcase their talents. Emilio said his current employer “is different from other companies I have worked for where courage was measured by your performance, making it hard to be yourself.” Emilio offers this suggestion: “Be transparent and to the point with your team.”

One of the best tips to enhance your talent showcase is to think of two to three key emotional behaviours you want not only to convey but to demonstrate to peers, clients, bosses or interviewers (e.g., courage, accountability, passion, promises, etc.). Once you know their sentiments, you can weave the appropriate messages throughout your presentation, interview meeting and language you use. Use a variety of words, phrases and stories all geared towards evoking a positive emotional connection to the brand called You. You may not get the project, job or desired action, but you will overcome the invisibility obstacle. And you will be demonstrating your courage straightforwardness!

  1. Recognise Career Defining Moments That Bust the Status Quo

Career-defining moments represent crucial points along your career path, places where you contemplate the virtues that compose your character and choose to step up to the next rung on the ladder or, lacking sufficient courage, slip back down. Every obstacle you face at work represents a potential career-defining moment. By simply recognising these workplace obstacles as defining moments (things like failing to get an overdue promotion, or enduring verbal intimidation), you begin to rely on your personal, courage-based assets.

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