6 Ways To Be A More Courageous Leader

Leadership expert Brad Lomenick offers some simple tips that will help you make tough decisions with confidence.

I have great respect for professional baseball players; they are anything but wimpy. To stand in front of home plate with a ball heading toward your head at 95 miles per hour with nothing but a piece of wood to bat it away takes guts.

Life and leadership are a lot like baseball. Even the best batters strike out sometimes. But a true athlete, and courageous leaders, can never run away from the pitch.

As a leader, you sit atop the mountain. You have no choice but to face the slopes. You can lean back, coast, and play it safe, snowplowing your way painfully back and forth across the mountain, or you can point your skis down the hill, nose over the tips, and dominate the run. Being a courageous leader requires you to push beyond the norm, be willing to take risks and quit being a wimp.

Courage is not waiting for your fear to go away; it is confronting your fear head-on.

Through working with young leaders around the nation, I have found six essentials that can help build a culture of courage in an organization:

1. Set scary standards. 

Give your people a goal that scares them, and you’ll produce leaders who know what it means to overcome fear.

2. Allow for failure.

The road to success is many times paved through multiple failures. Allow for and even encourage your team to fail as they attempt to succeed.

3. Make decisions.

Don’t let ideas, strategy, communication, and important organizational markers sit idly by on the side without saying yes or no. Leaders are decision makers, and must do it constantly.

4. Reward innovation.

Rewarding innovation will challenge your team to grow in their roles.

5. Pursue the right opportunities. 

Aggressively pursue a few things that make sense. Say no to things that don’t—even if it means saying no more often than you’re comfortable.

6. Learn to delegate.

This is one of the most courageous things a leader can do. Entrusting others with important tasks requires letting go and relinquishing control.

If you want your team to be courageous, give them the chance to lead. Early and often.

The good news is that unlike some leadership traits, courage is not inborn; it’s learned. The natural response is to run from what frightens us, but life’s greatest leaps occur when we resist this impulse.

Here’s the full story.

What is one way that you can be more courageous today?

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