Becoming a Courageous Leader

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Courage is one of the primary characteristics we need to possess to be an effective leader.  It is an attitude that helps us deal with anything we recognize as difficult or possibly dangerous without withdrawing from it. Possessing this skill is especially important during times of uncertainty or adversity when fear of the unknown can hold us back or immobilize us. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to act in spite of it.

As I reflect on this statement and think about business leaders in the 21st century, Steve Jobs comes to mind. Jobs exemplified courageous leadership. He was a visionary; he was passionate about his dream and he pursued it every day. He overcame great personal and professional adversity during his career, but never lost sight of his goal to make the world’s best PC. Jobs dreamed big, took lots of risks, inspired others to follow him, overcame obstacles, and delivered a new way to work and play to millions of people around the world. He demonstrated courageous leadership!

Following are some lessons taken from Jobs’ example that can assist you in honing this skill:
1.  Dare to dream big dreams. Believe in your ideas. Embrace your values and vision and let them be your guide.
2.  Persevere, never give up!
3.  Define who you want to be as a leader and commit yourself to doing the things necessary to achieve that reality.
4.  Develop skills that enable you to act quickly and deliberately.
5. Develop a plan, but remember, a good plan is not enough; it requires action. Execution produces sustainable results.
6.  Take calculated risks. Accept failures or setbacks as learning opportunities. Mistakes are our greatest teacher.
7.  Keep pursuing your dream.
8.  Deliver results.

Stephen Covey said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” Courage isn’t a characteristic that you are born with. It is one that has to be developed or created through experience. As you develop as a leader, mastering this trait will help you define your way.

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