We often think of leaders as exhibiting big acts of courage – overcoming huge obstacles and saving lives, metaphorically and literally. Yet I’m amazed and humbled at the courageous things leaders do that we don’t think of as brave. The small courageous things that we overlook every day are the stuff that make up the character of great leaders.
You exhibit leadership courage daily in a lot of unnoticed ways like these when you:
Speak up when you know you’ll be judged harshly.
Shut up and let others have their say even if you think you are right.
Give critical feedback to someone in power when you know it might have unfavorable consequences.
Receive critical feedback from others with grace.
Develop others without fear even when you know they may become smarter than you are.
Be kind to those who disagree with you because they might teach you something.
Coach and mentor others even if it’s not part of your job description.
Say no when everyone else is saying yes.
Say yes when everyone else is saying no.
Accept responsibility for the shameful or embarrassing things you’ve done.
Take the high road when you know how difficult it can be.
Walk away when the fight isn’t worth it.
Stay and fight for the greater good when everyone else is running away from it.
Reflect deeply when you really just want to take action.
Love your followers even when you’re unhappy with them.
Forgive others’ failures when you know they’ve learned an important lesson.
Give others credit even when you’d like to take it for yourself.
Keep going when the going gets really, really tough.
Connect with your heart when your head wants to rule.
Connect with your head when your emotions are threatening to take over.
Ask “what’s right” when you prefer to be critical.
Be curious when you’d rather be judgmental.
Step out of your comfort zone when you hate stepping out or being uncomfortable.
Listen to others deeply, without giving advice.
Ask when you really want to tell.
Do things a different way even though it’s “always been done this way”.
See the potential in others when everyone else sees what’s wrong with them.
Admit your failings when you think you’re supposed to be perfect.
Control your impulses and desires when the temptation is greatest.
Reduce suffering because you can.
What unexpected acts of courage will you act upon today?
Make sure that you link to Dan McCarthy’s Great Leadership site for the first of a monthly collaborative series called the “Leadership Development Roundtable Challenge“. It’s a fun a new way for you to become familiar with a great group of leadership bloggers, and to vote for your favorite response to the challenge. I’m honored to be a part of the group!