Every leader faces defining moments when the difference between success or failure comes down to the courage to make the tough decision.
The good news is that, like any other quality, courage is a quality of leadership that you can develop and improve.
And the best way to do that is to break it down into its component pieces. Focus on developing in each of these areas, and you’ll find that your courage will be growing as well.
True courage is rooted in humility.
Think of a time when you’ve needed to assign a crucial game-breaking task to a member of your team. You might clearly see that someone else on your team is better equipped to carry out the task than you are. Arrogance would cause you to pass over the more talented team mate in order to keep the job for yourself.
But humility would recognize that, to maximize the chances of success, the job should go to someone else.
The more you grow in humility, the more you’ll develop the courage to make the right call.
Courageous leaders must be able to stare down the biggest of challenges and be willing to place the good of the mission ahead of the good of themselves.
In his book, Be All You Can Be, John Maxwell writes, “Insecure people are survivors; they are not willing to take risks…The person who doesn’t have to survive says, ‘Here I stand; I can do nothing else.” The chapter is appropriately titled, I don’t have to survive.
When you have arrived at the place where you can genuinely say that, for the sake of the mission, “I don’t have to survive”, you have taken a huge step in the direction of courageous leadership.
Difficult decision points can be exhausting.
Sometimes the easiest way out is to simply back away from making the tough call, or to simply avoid the difficult matters altogether.
But courageous leaders have learned to develop a spirit of resilience that pushes through.
Build your resilience, and you’ll be building your courage.
As the stakes of leadership go up, so too does the need to face each challenge with increasing levels of courage.
So dig deep and shore up your qualities of humility, self-sacrifice and reliance. As you do, you will develop the courage you need to face the highest stakes challenges of leadership…
…and to prevail.