Being Courageous, Be Bold. Be Your Best!

What does being courageous mean? Is Leading is a courageous act? For one thing, It's out front, ushering in change, and challenging the status quo. Courage involves being comfortable with the conflict that is inherent to being a champion of an idea or course of action. It sometimes means taking out difficult and lonely positions and politically risking jobs. Effective leaders meet tough situations head on to constructively resolve them. They say what needs to be set at the right time, to the right person, in the proper manner to affect change. Many times it is not favorable. Something went wrong. Is there a cover-up? Project or task not done right. Someone isn’t performing well, is holding something back, or is going off on the wrong track. Being Courageous involves letting people know where they stand — having difficult conversations and standing alone. Being courageous requires your brain the balance right/flight instincts with logical analysis. To weigh the benefits and drawbacks of addressing severe issues. Courage does not mean you are not afraid. Courageous means you overcome the fear to do what is right

"Courage is the most important of all virtues because, without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently."

- Maya Angelou

To Be Courageous Should Not Be Feared

It's okay to be afraid of something. It appears a normal response to danger in the environment. When your brain detects something that could potentially threaten your survival, your Olympic or the emotional system automatically becomes activated. The amygdala and thalamus prepare the body for fight or flight by increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. The limbic system fires up far more intensely when it perceives a danger than a reward due to the inherent negativity bias of the human brain. Bad news sticks longer in memory than good news. Unpleasant experiences impact the brain more powerfully than pleasant ones. In uncertain situations, people tend to overestimate risk by underestimate potential rewards. So what does this mean? The threat may be exaggerated or imaginary instead of being real. Recognize that your fear may be irrational. Then reflect on questions like these; how would others effectively respond in your situation? What’s the worst that could happen? What skills do you already possess a could help you through it? What growth or development could you derive from it? By considering these questions, you activate the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, which inhabits limbic systems arousal. Results? Your fear subsides.

What does being courageous Mean?

  • · A leader Readily tackles tough assignments.

  • · Leader that Faces difficult issues and support others do the same.

  • · A leader that is willing to provide not only constructive feedback but that is actionable.

  • · Is willing to champion an idea or position despite dissent or political risk.

Ten Tips On How to Be courageous

1. Are you facing a challenging issue? Prepare for hard stands against the grain. Taking a strong stand demands confidence in what you are saying, along with the humility that you might be wrong. To prepare to take the lead on a problem to develop a strong case. First work to understand the issue and your audience. Secondly, write-in bullet points what your stand is and why you hold it. Build a business case. How do others win? Ask others for advice. Scope the problem, consider options and opposing views, pick one, develop a rationale, then go with it until proven wrong. You are always expecting Push-back.

2. Are you laid back? Step into the fray. None Of Your Business? Tend To Shy Away From Courageous Situations? Why? What Is Getting In Your Way? Are You Prone To Give Up Under Challenging Circumstances, Fear Exposing Yourself, And Do Not Like Conflict? Ask Yourself-Was A Downside Is Of Delivering The Message You Think Is Right, And Well It Eventually Helps The Organization May Cause Short-Term Pain to someone? What If It Turns Out You Are Wrong? Treat Any Misinterpretations, As A opportunity To Learn. What If You Were The Target Person Or Group? Even Though It Might Hurt, it would be appreciated. Be Grateful If Someone Questions Your Data, And You Had Time To Fix It With Little Or No Damage? What Would You Think Of A Person You Later Found Out Knew There Was A Problem With The Data And Did Not Inform You? Having To Correct, The Data Could Lead To An Excessive Amount Of Time And Political Currency To Fix It. Follow-Up On Your Convictions By Following The Due Process, Step Up To Plate And Be The Responsible One.

3. Are you not being heard? Then go up the next level. The level of urgency of the situation may call for more immediate action. Prepare to go high in an organization; it may put you up against a colleague or even a boss. If your original message is rejected, covered up, denied, hidden, or glossed over and you're confident of the accuracy, go up to the chain. Word of caution, bring your data. Bring your facts with you. Let the data speak for you. Continue until is dealt with, or at least two levels higher than the event or person asked you to stop. If you have a mentor, seek their counsel along the way. In studies of Whistle-blowers, a hundred percent of the failures spoke in generalized terms, tying their message to leadership values such as integrity.  All the successes dealt with the specific issue as it was-problem and consequences. They did not generalize it.

4. Are you speaking to the wrong people? Provide information to the right person. The basic rule is to deliver it to the person who can do the most with it. Limit your sharing of data to one or as few people as possible. Consider telling the actual person involved and allow them to fix it without any further exposure to risk. If that is not possible, move-up the chain of command. Do not pass indirect messages via messengers.

5. Not comfortable being out front? Face criticism with courage. Leading is riskier. While there are a lot of professional rewards for taking stands, it places you in the limelight. Look at what happens to political leaders and the scrutiny they face. People who choose to stand alone have to be internally secure. Do you feel good about yourself? Can you defend a critical and impartial audience the wisdom of what you are doing? They have to please themselves first, that they are on the right track. They have to accept lightning bolts from distractors. Can you take the heat? People will always say it should be done differently. Great leaders have been wrong at times. What they have in common is they accept personal responsibility for errors and move on to lead some more. Do not let criticism prevent you from taking the stand. Build up your heatshield. If you know you are right, standing alone, is well worth the heat. If it turns out wrong, admitted, and move on.

Courage does not mean being fearless is anxiety-free. Instead, courageous people manage their emotional reactions. 

6) Are you scared? Expect to manage emotion. Even the most well-trained military members or emergency responders are going to life-threatening situations feel fear. Courageous does not mean being fearless is anxiety-free. Instead, courageous people manage their emotional reactions. How? By training and preparing. By becoming so skilled in the work that needs to be accomplished that they can perform the task without getting stuck are the potentiality crippling emotion. Practice and repetition help overcome the emotional aspects of the challenge. Another way? Find a role model. Observe a person who demonstrates courage. What do they do? What emotions do they show or not show? How can you emulate their actions? Envision yourselves, acting with courage before taking action. Lastly, do something. Often, it is the inactivity before taking action when we feel the most. Take action and the nerve will follow.

7. Unsure of the consequences? Analyze the impact. Sometimes irrational fear can get in the way of the ability to act with courage. The best way to overcome irrational fear is to critic Lee and analyzed the potential impact of the action. Courage requires calculation and logic. Think about the possible consequences if you take action one way or another. What is the worst that can happen? Failure? Embarrassment? What is the best likely outcome? Resolving a problem and helping a colleague while standing up for what is right. How do your values and into the equation? If there are no clear business outcomes of their possible action, what is the best importance of following your ethics? Ultimately, there can think about the implications you do not take any action at all. Do a cost-benefit analysis to help you move forward with assurance. Once you have thought through the impact, you can overcome the emotion of the situation have a clear line of sight to potential outcomes.

8. Shy away from tough assignments? Start small. You do not have to volunteer to go start up an office/culture or lead a downsizing effort. You have to make tough decisions. Instead, raise your hand for something close to your subject-matter expertise or known expertise. Volunteer to train someone new, visit a client site. Learn a new skill. Raise the bar on the new or challenging task as you develop a comfort level with the unknown. What is the worst you can do? Fail? Courage involves pushing the envelope, taking chances, and suggesting doing those things leads to more misfires and mistakes. Treat any errors of failures as chances to learn. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Research says that successful manager managers have made more mistakes in their careers than the people they succeeded. Promotion to the next level is because they had the guts to try, not because they were always right. Other studies suggest outstanding general managers are right above 65% of the time. Put errors, mistakes, and miss failures on your resume. Everyone has to eat spinach for a balanced diet. Do not let the possibility of being wrongful hold you back from standing alone when you believe it is right.

9. Are you holding back while others push forward? Support others who stand up. Do you have a peer colleague who is standing up for something extraordinary? Do you support their position? Then get up there with them. Show solidarity. Do not just tell this person in secret that you think they are right. Demonstrate your support. Talk to your boss or other leaders to show your support. Campaign. Lobby key influencers. Talk to those who are in a position to make a difference — Communicate-Act-Follow through.

10. Are you not making your point effectively? Deliver a direct message. You have limited attention span and tough feedback situations. Do not waste time with a long preamble, mainly if the feedback is negative. If your feedback is negative and the recipient is likely to know it, go ahead and say it directly. They will not hear anything positive you have to say anyway. Do not overwhelm the person/group, even if you have a lot to say. Go from specific to general points. Keep it to the facts. Do not embellish to make your point. No passion or inflammatory language. Do not do it to harm or out of vengeance. Talk do it in anger. If emotions are there for you, wait until you can describe them, do not show them. People with courage take action to find a better outcome, not to destroy others. Stay calm and cool. If others are not composed, do not respond. Just return to the message.              

Courage Is What It Takes To Stand Up And Speak; Courage Is Always What It Takes To Sit Down And Listen. Winston Churchill-Former Prime Minister Of The U. K. And Nobel Prize-Winning Writer

Lastly - take time to reflect.

…If you find it easier to go along with the status quo

…then recognize that just drifting to the stream will not prepare you for possible turbulent rapids ahead. There are times when you need to steer against the current. Remember that convictions only have an impact if you act on them.

… If you are worried, your views will turn people against you

                … Then focus on your reason for taking a stand. If somethings wrong, and needs to be right. If there is a better way, it needs to be solved. Show resolve. You do not have to be popular to be respected.

… If you are worried that what you say will rock the boat

… Then ask yourself if holding back is in the best interests of the organization. It might be time to shake things up. You might take some heat today, but tomorrow people may think you for having the courage to speak up.

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