Courage is the ability to move forward regardless of obstacles, risks, or controversy.  Many leaders evaluate their success on the elimination of risk and operating without issues arising.  Therefore, the most important goals and objectives typically are not pursued due to wanting to ensure success. 

The more important the goal, the more obstacles there will be. 

At times when things run extremely smoothly and there are no obstacles, it can be an indication that you are playing it safe.  Ed Catmull, who was the founder of Pixar, stated in a presentation that his most important job as CEO was to get new team members to make mistakes as quickly as possible.  His logic was that if someone was not making mistakes, it meant they were using only proven methods and not being creative or innovative.  Their company could not survive without trying new unproven techniques. 

Further, a leader that lacks courage will make decisions based on what is popular.  While this seems to be a great path to take, the reality is that it delays important steps toward growth.  If we do not have difficult conversations with people, they will not improve and grow.  If we only tell our clients what they want to hear, they will not benefit from your expertise.  A leader who wants to serve others must have the courage to tell the truth even when it is not popular. 

Finally, leaders who lack courage are not willing to stand behind their values.  Many companies will post their values on the wall, the website, or their marketing materials.  When leaders do not act in line with their values team members lose trust.     Leading and the courage to do what is right are tightly aligned.  This responsibility to courageously innovate and strategize cannot be delegated to others.  Leaders must model the ability to tackle challenges, envision a better future, and take steps toward critical goals. 

What challenges are you tackling?  In what ways are you modeling courage with your team?   Choose the right path even if it is more challenging.  There is not much a leader, and their team cannot accomplish if they have the courage to tackle the hard things.  Doing so will lead to great growth and gains! 

sara e anderson