By Catherine Hickem, LCSW, ACC
Courage. Webster’s dictionary defines it as “mental or moral strength to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous”.
Typically when we hear the word, it is in context of a solder risking his life for others, a person taking an unpopular stand on a position that will have a personal cost to him, or someone gallantly facing their greatest fear. Most of us can recall examples of people in our lives who displayed this type of courage.
What we need to see in today’s corporate environment is corporate courage. It is the bravery of a leader who will have the hard conversation with an employee in a manner that will be difficult yet necessary. It is the boldness of a CEO telling a Board that his team has made some significant miscalculations on earnings. It is the low level employee who has the courage to expose illegal activity in the warehouse. These are all examples of people who dared to take the risk to find their voice for the cause of their company. But where has this courage gone?
Today’s leaders are too concerned about being liked by their team, scared of making tough personnel decisions, and worried about how those above them will view them if they are not in agreement. Never before have I heard so many examples of employees, leaders, and C-Level executives finding excuses to run from a problem instead of facing it. Fear, insecurity, politics, and lack of leadership are contributing factors in the demise of corporate courage.
Too often conflict is viewed negatively. Unfortunately, It has gotten a bad rap over the years because it has been blamed for creating division and damaging relationships. The truth is that conflict, when handled well, provides clarity, allows growth, lays the foundation for innovation and creativity, and strengthens the trust of a team for the next journey.
I know few people who enjoy difficult moments. Yet, great leaders recognize their position in the company is to make the best decision for all involved, stay true to the mission and vision of the company, and make the hard calls when the time is right. Healthy, impactful leaders will exemplify courage to their people by leaning into the moment instead of passing it off onto someone else. It is in these times we discover who is willing to get in the ring, and win or lose, have at least dared greatly by facing the challenge with courage pouring forth.
Arden Coaching challenges you all: where can YOU display corporate courage?
If you feel you’ve lost your edge, or want to instill corporate courage throughout your organization, contact us to speak with Catherine about bringing back the courage!