A leader is one who guides or directs a group, and leadership takes courage. Courage isn’t necessarily skydiving from a plane or rock climbing up a treacherous cliff – courage is doing something you know will be difficult, challenging, or even dangerous.
“Leadership Takes Courage” is not a new principle
In fact, the principle of Leadership Takes Courage has been advocated for centuries. Aristotle, a Greek philosopher born in 384 B.C., said courage is the first of all human virtues, because without it, no other virtues would be possible. He understood courage is pushing through difficulties in order to reach a specific goal because he said, “The pleasure in courage lies in the end obtained.” Good leaders don’t do courageous things to be seen or praised – leaders are courageous because leadership takes courage to accomplish what needs to be accomplished.
“Leadership Takes Courage” is a principle that can be taught and learned
Some skeptics believe you’re either born with courage or you’re not, but in truth, courageousness and courageous leadership can be taught. An entire industry has been built by those who train others to overcome fears in order to reach their goals – a fundamental leadership principle. People have learned to overcome their fear of heights, flying, public speaking – nearly any task that requires one to, in the words of John Wayne, “saddle up,” can be taught and learned. An unknown person said, “Courage is not the absence of fear but the acquired ability to move beyond fear.” Courage is a skill.
“Leadership Takes Courage” is a principle that doesn’t ignore fear – it faces it
Leaders understand fear is involved. They push past their fears by remaining focused on the goal – the outcome – the dream or desire that lies on the other side of fear. According to Merriam Webster, Courage is the “moral or mental strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.”
“Leadership Takes Courage” is a principle that requires humility
Winston Churchill said, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
Good leaders listen to their subordinates, their critics, and their competitors. They admit their faults and quickly forgive the faults of others. Good leaders ensure the dignity of those they lead, they assure their followers through quiet strength, not browbeating or belittling them. Leaders do what is right, not what is popular or what they “want” to do. They do what needs to be done. Bowing to peer pressure and trying to please everyone is a sign of weakness, not courage. And leaders who attempt to place their egos ahead of the group’s best interests in order to win popularity are not effective.
Leadership takes courage to give credit to others, to remain faithful to one’s core values no matter what, and, if necessary, to break away from the status quo.
“Leadership Takes Courage” is a principle that requires action
Courageous leadership requires acting quickly and decisively. It means making the hard decisions and accepting the consequences of those decisions. The United States Marines are taught “Lead by example. Don’t ever ask one of your troops to do something you aren’t willing to do yourself.” In other words, don’t just spout of commands to your followers but lead by being willing to do what it takes. Courageous leadership is not only speaking, but acting.
“Leadership Takes Courage” is a principle that requires taking risks
Courageous leadership means being willing to take the necessary risks to accomplish what needs to be accomplished. People who take no chances waste time worrying over insignificant and trivial things. Leadership takes courage, and courage takes risks.
“Leadership Takes Courage” is a principle that inspires others
Being a great leader means having the willingness to do what other great leaders have done – the courage to expand, to change direction, to move into unknown and even uncharted territory. Courageous leadership inspires commitment from those who follow.
Billy Graham said, “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened.”
“Leadership Takes Courage” is a principle that is personal
It has been said that courage resides in the heart. Courage is personal. Courageous leadership includes personal values, such as loyalty and integrity and accountability. Leadership not only takes courage, leadership takes heart.
The principle of “Leadership Takes Courage” is the centerpiece of effective leadership.