Courage is a critical element of Fearless Leadership®. One of the deepest forms of courage is required in the way you work with your peers on the leadership team. In Fearless Leadership Teams, courage coexists with compassion and curiousity.
Here are 3 dos of courage:
- Do listen. Our listening is so often transactional, listening to understand a colleague’s perspective so we know whether to support or oppose their position. Instead listen deeply and to truly connect. Listen in a way that takes courage, as when you truly listen you may need to reconsider your own perspective.
- Do have the ‘tough’ conversations. I cringe when a senior leader declares with pride ‘I tell it like it is – everyone knows where they stand with me!’ If there is a trail of destruction – confidence damaged, people reluctant to try new ideas because the last one was torn apart – we aren’t building fearlessness! Have the tough conversations with compassion, in a way that builds and not bruises the relationship.
- Do make decisions and take action. Courage doesn’t lead to action. Action leads to courage, so stop procrastinating and do something. If it turns out to be a flawed decision, change it later, refine as you go drawing on the wisdom of the leadership team.
And 3 don’ts of courage in an executive team:
- Don’t push disagreements underground. Conflict is at its most dangerous when it’s unexpressed, simmering under the surface, slowly corroding creativity, connection and trust. And then exploding at the least opportune time… Instead surface and resolve conflict.
- Don’t let honesty travel alone**. ‘Brutal honesty is not fearless or smart. It’s just…. brutal! Ensure honesty is accompanied by a travel companion such as empathy, understanding, trust or even love.
- Don’t create a culture of blame. Your peers (and direct reports even more so) will be less likely to show courage and take risks if they fear a public shaming.
Courage doesn’t just happen. Courage needs to be fostered and developed so you can build a Fearless Leadership Team.
Which ‘do’ or ‘don’t’ seems to be written just for you? Where could you show courage today? What could you do to build a more courageous team environment?
** The totally fabulous Muffy Hand introduced me to this concept many years ago. Thanks Muffy –15 years later you still continue to inspire me.
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