Leverage the Power of Courage!
If you could choose one leadership characteristic that has an impact on the effectiveness of all others, what would it be? We fielded this question to the HRDQ Team, and came up with a list of typical characteristics and skills, including: innovation, planning, execution, strategy, communication and teamwork. It turns out that we all had some insight, but we were missing the foundation that encompasses all of these.
Think about this: Courage is the characteristic that informs and strengthens all other characteristics.
When you consider the statistics, it’s no wonder. Research indicates that depression, cardiac problems and other health issues drastically increase in a fearful or stressful workplace. Add to that decreased overall productivity and a rise in absenteeism. This provides an airtight business case for fostering a courageous work environment where employees act courageously.
These workplace insights guided our recent conversation with Bill Treasurer, author of Courageous Leadership. Bill’s mission in life is to help people and organizations become more courageous, and Bill’s passion for that mission is contagious.
Bill, why is courage so critical?
“Courage is the umbrella concept. I think it is the first virtue of business. For example, to be a leader requires rendering bold decisions that some people will disagree with. Leadership takes courage. To be an innovator requires ground-breaking but tradition-defying ideas. Innovation requires courage. To be a great sales person you have to knock on hundreds of doors over and over in the face of rejection. Sales requires courage. If you get the courage right at the outset, so many other things become effortless. ”
How do you work with people and organizations to foster courageous behavior?
“My courage-building workshops focus on creating an understanding about the preeminent role that courage plays in personal and organizational success. Three different types of courage are introduced–dealing with initiative, trust, and assertiveness, respectively.
Then we discuss two different leadership dispositions –leaders who build people’s courage (“fillers”) and leaders who stoke people’s fears (“spillers”). Throughout the workshop, people are practicing concepts and identifying actions they can take to be more courageous and inspire more courage in those around them.”
Bill Treasurer’s career began with a stint as a high diver. How can we argue with the kind of courage you see here?