Lead With Courage

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Leaders face situations that are difficult and uncertain most of the time. This becomes even more critical when you have to make decisions that go against the grain of established patterns and assumptions.

Many people are privileged to lead however they find themselves comprised to please those above them. When the object of leading is pleasing those above you, your leadership capital is compromised.

The sad reality is that it is not only the leader who is compromised, it is the department or function they are supposed to lead and the organisation in its entirety.

Courage means the ability to face your fears and do what aligns with your values while promoting institutional values. This is not easy because in any organisation, some benefit from the status quo and their preoccupation is protecting it. 

This is more of a reason for effective leaders to emerge to challenge the status quo and drive the vision of the organisation. In their book, Leadership and the Quest for Integrity, Joseph Badaracco and Richard Ellsworth assert that leaders should have “the courage to do and say what one believes to be right, rather than what is convenient, familiar or popular; the courage to act on one’s vision for the organisation”.

Such leaders are in short supply because people step into leadership to secure the pecks that come with leadership positions. Leadership has become more of self-preservation than serving others and the organisation.

Vision suffers where the leaders lack courage. People’s dreams never see the light of day where those who are supposed to lead take a back seat.

How do we change the plight of many South Africans when those who are supposed to lead recede into cowardice?

As a leader, choose courage and effect transformation where you have the opportunity to lead. If not, conformity is not the option. Conformity robs you of effective leadership.

Courage starts with you.

Tata Nelson Mandela said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” You can learn to conquer your fear and become courageous. In their book, The Courage To Act, authors Merom Klein and Rod Napier stresses that you need to nurture behaviours that help you become conscious of your purpose, will, rigour, risk, and candour to do things that you have not done before

Initiate courageous conversations

The act of courage is not taking any battle that comes your way. You should be prepared to go after that which you value so that you can gain a higher value. In most cases lack of courage to speak up compromises your vision, your values and purpose. This leads to more suffering as you constantly lament how bad the situation is without doing anything about it. You become the victim of your silence. You get trapped in talking with others who are in the same pit as you are. I have seen people been disrespected and devalued from one engagement to the next. These courageous conversations entail asking for a one to one meeting to use as an opportunity to set boundaries. In the process, it may serve as a feedback mechanism to learn something about yourself.

Courage has consequences

I am not suggesting that guts will always be preferred to compliance in your interactions. As alluded above, those who have something to gain will do what they should to protect their territory. It is for this reason that courage is never easy, and many people shy away from it. That is why courage is the hallmark of true leaders separating leaders from followers and true leaders from cheaters. The reality is that when you shy from been courageous, you end up being buried alive. As Christopher Paolini says, “keep in mind that many people have died for their beliefs; it’s actually quite common. The real courage is in living and suffering for what you believe.” 

As a leader, choose courage and effect transformation where you have the opportunity to lead. If not, conformity is not the option. Conformity robs you of effective leadership.

If you are intrigued by the idea of achieving extraordinary results in your life, I invite you to explore coaching with one of our coaches. Drop us an email on info@dreamsmadepossible.co.za.

Tex Hlalele is a Life & Business Coach, Consultant, Speaker and Author of the book Face the person in the mirror. Book Tex for coaching and speaking engagements to help you and your team gain insights and possibilities for individual learning and organizational advancement. Get in touch by sending an email on info@dreamsmadepossible.co.za.

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