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Working recently with a group of public sector leaders, we delved into the transformative potential of inclusive leadership. It became evident that one critical trait the participants recognised as essential to their growth as an inclusive leader was courage. They acknowledged the need to cultivate courage in order to foster an environment of inclusivity and drive positive change.

And it’s true – our workplace and world needs more courageous leaders! We need leaders who will challenge the injustices like racism and discrimination and right the wrongs of the past, to stand up for science and sustainable solutions, and live and lead with integrity and character. Courage is the key to a brighter future.

So how can you tap into your courage to become a more effective leader? Courage is the extraordinary strength to face fears, to take on challenges despite the outcome, and meet the uncertainties of life head-on. Courage also helps us to be better people by pushing us beyond our comfort zones, embracing new experiences, and making choices aligned with our values, leading to a richer, more fulfilling life.

In this post, we’ll explore how to lead with courage and how you can use them in your own leadership journey.

5 Keys to Lead with Courage

1. Embrace Vulnerability

Courage calls for you to embrace vulnerability. Whether it’s creating an environment where your team feels safe to express their ideas, concerns, and failures or openly sharing your own vulnerabilities, learning and mistakes, by doing this you create a culture of trust and collaboration. This openness paves the way for innovation, strengthens your relationships with others, and empowers people to take risks.

2. Encourage Constructive Dissent

Courageous leaders value diverse perspectives and encourage constructive dissent in their teams. We know that dissenting opinions can lead to better decision-making and more innovative solutions. By creating an environment where dissent is welcomed, leaders demonstrate courage by embracing the discomfort of disagreement and encouraging healthy debates. This approach ensures that all voices are heard and fosters a culture of inclusivity, creativity, and critical thinking.

3. Be Bold and Take Risks

Personal leadership requires you to take risks and be willing to fail. Playing it safe can lead to stagnation and missed opportunities. You could ask yourself the question – what goals would you aspire to if you couldn’t fail? Brene Brown, Author of Daring Greatly shares a better question, “What’s worth doing even if I fail?” Build a growth mindset and be willing to experiment and learn from failures.

4. Provide Genuine Feedback and Support

We need courage to have honest and constructive conversations in our lives. By giving genuine feedback, we help our team recognise their strengths, identify areas for improvement, and unleash their full potential.

Kim Scott, Author of Radical Candor shares that we can take the hard feedback from those who care deeply about us and have our backs. So we need to provide the feedback that’s going to help us grow while also being there with an unwavering support to get better. This builds confidence, resilience and a share purpose of being in it together.

5. Inspiring Others

Courage is contagious. I see it in my leadership program all the time. If we cultivate a space where leaders can practise being brave together, we support each other to grow and be our best selves. Find those around you who want to grow, who want to be better and share the journey to inspire each other to courageous leadership.

The Call for Courage

As leaders, embracing courage helps you to unlock your full potential, ignite positive change, and inspire the people around you to reach new heights. So, remember, courage is not just for the knights of the round table but a powerful force that we can each tap into. Embrace it, nurture it, and watch it transform your leadership journey.

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