For centuries, mankind searched for traits in human beings which make them a great leader. In different proportions, great and influential leaders have the ability to take bold steps with reasoned judgment, spirited decisions but with calculated risks, assertiveness but with reflective disposition. The expectations of the people who are being led also complicate the matter. The followers wish to have leaders who can make decisions not only decisively but also inclusively. They should interpret situations with both rationality and emotional intelligence. They should exude confidence and have humility. But the most important aspect of all is the Courage which remains to be the key characteristics of a great leader.
Courageous leadership is what built this modern society where few good men took the responsibility and made bold decisions to create a better world. History is filled with instances where courageous leaders made the hard choices and overcome tyranny and oppression along with bringing prosperity and happiness.
But there are few difficult things that most of the people overlook when we talk about courageous leaders. Let’s look at those 5 essential aspects that need to be taken into account which can guide us in raising courageous leaders of tomorrow.
- Not bailing on the team when times get tough
Most of the people breakdown in crisis. It becomes harder for them to struggle and overcome the obstacles and to retreat seems to be a better option for them. It becomes difficult for them to face the scenario and make them leave the battlefield or precarious situation. Courageous leadership talks about sticking with the team even when things are against. A courageous leader never leaves his team in the midst of any difficulty and leads them in best of his ability to make sure everyone overcomes the problem, collectively.
- Making the tough choice to attain balance in stewarding the mission along with caring the people involved in it.
Courageous leaders make sure that they keep their focus on achieving the mission while caring and nurturing the people who are involved in the mission. Few leaders fail to strike a balance and hurt the mission by making over-commitment to the people. Some leaders hurt the people in the name of the mission and following the agenda of the other. Courageous leadership means hiring and nurturing the right people and when there is a collision between the people and the mission, work hard to save mission integrity while making sure that injury to the people is minimized as much as it can be.
- Embracing complexity of risk while understanding the reality of failed decision-making.
When it comes to taking tougher decisions, the leader has to understand the risks and leave the unproductive strategies. A courageous leader needs to seek opportunity which is hard to find and make a counter-intuitive solution. Even though the risk is real, the reality of the failure is always present in any decisions taken. A courageous leader knows the realities of the failure and yet lead the team in tasks, make a tougher decision and pursue them reluctantly when it is necessary. This key aspect of leadership determines the perseverance of the leader to achieve the mission while gauging the risks and understanding the long-term implications of making failed decisions.
- Maintaining calm and hope in times of chaos
Modern times are chaotic, and in the midst of this chaos, people generally make wrong decisions. They pursue misguided agendas and fail to deliver the righteous solution which benefits all. In such times, courageous leadership requires absorbing the chaos, not just by relying on own strength but also relying on the strength and direction which comes from the experience of facing difficulties. Courageous leaders should provide calm to their team. They shouldn’t retaliate or escalate any difficulty which can make things worse. While facing criticism, they shouldn’t yield a harsher response. They should show balanced approach which demonstrates their clear judgment about the difficulty. It is important for a courageous leader to impart rationality to his team in times to precarious situations. This helps him and the team to overcome the obstacles while remaining focused and not losing the sight of the mission.
- Making touch choices and decisions regarding people
A courageous leader should entrust others and delegate them genuine responsibilities. The important aspect of leadership is to empower the people even before they have proven their capabilities. A courageous leader invests in people which others are ready to dismiss. However, in case a team member is not a good fit for the team or lack the necessary skills, strength, vision, and zeal, a courageous leader needs to take the tough call and graciously acknowledge it and move forward without that team member. It is a tough decision to make especially in the midst of a process or mission, but for maintaining the path to success, a leader needs to make tough choices and decisions regarding the people who are part of his team.
Courage is touted as most important characteristics of a good leader. It is often regarded as key aspect of a great leader when it comes to leading the people, achieving the mission while remaining focused and calm. Courageous leadership requires a leader to trust his team members and not leave them in the midst of a crisis. It is important for him to assign right roles to right people and if they fail to deliver, he must let them go. A courageous leader needs to exhume confidence in his team and give them hope when things get against them. Such leader should keep a balance between taking care of the people and remaining focused on the mission. A courageous leader needs to understand the complexity of the risks and realities of failed decision making. A courageous leader should never lose his mission objectives and ultimate goals. He needs to make necessary changes in strategies when things don’t work out.
Leaders must be a beacon for the people they lead and present themselves as a worthy example, utilizing their skills, either learned like a Management mba, or with their soft skills, striking a balance in order to push the teams forward.
To follow as well as live up to these expectations, it can be difficult for any leader. These things are the toughest aspect of courageous leadership which should be kept in mind while raising a new generation of leaders.