Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the “ape” in apricot? What have they got that I ain’t got?
The Cowardly Lion, Wizard of Oz, 1939
In my continual study of developing my leadership skills and helping others become better leaders, I have found that one of the most challenging aspects of leadership is courage.
Leaders are hard to find because as a leader you are accountable not only to yourself, but to those you lead and serve.
So how can you become a courageous leader?
Here are seven principles that are found in leaders who show courage.
1. Seek the truth. You’ll never find yourself until your find your truth
Trust is the most important thing in leadership. Trust starts with your own character. For others to trust and respect you, you must first understand your own value system and beliefs and build a deep and solid foundation. What are your unwavering principles that you stand for?
2. Change. Courage is the power to let go of the familiar
The best leaders are willing to give up to go up. They are open to change if it will help them and their team grow. Change also takes courage. Most people will resist change and fight to keep the status quo. True leaders not only accept change, but willingly embrace it.
3. Express convictions. Convictions help us to stand alone. The test of courage comes when we’re in the minority
The right decision isn’t always the popular decision. Courage in leadership will require decisions that will turn some people away. Stand firm in your beliefs and convictions.
4. Overcome obstacles. Whatever you do, someone will think you are wrong. Expect trouble. Project courage
There will always be critics. This is especially true in leadership. In times of doubt and uncertainty, look at every challenge as an opportunity to display your courage in leadership.
5. Learn and grow. You have’t learned until you step out, take a risk, and do something new
True leaders are always learning and growing. They are never satisfied or complacent. There is no reward until you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and learn new things. Leaders are learners.
6. Take the high road. “There is no traffic jam on the extra mile” Roger Staubach
When you go above and beyond to serve others, you will find less congestion. That’s because few leaders and organizations reach beyond average. It takes courage to step out and do things that others aren’t willing to do.
7. Lead others. Leadership is the expression of courage that compels others to do the right thing.
“Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” John Maxwell.
When you lead with excellence, you will be acting as model and mentor to those you serve. Great leaders don’t just add followers, they add more leaders.
Are you a courageous leader? Examine these seven principles and be a courageous leader.
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