Berger Leadership Blog

Oct 28, 2022

Inspiring courage

One of the most defining attributes of a strong leader is courage. And inspiring our teams to be courageous and take calculated risks can be one of the best leadership skills we can impress on our teams.

A recent Smart Brief article outlines five key steps that will allow you to inspire courage in your employees and I found all of them to ring true:

  1. Highlight the value of being courageous: The author suggests that highlighting examples from history where leaders overcame fear and achieved great things. But, however you choose to achieve this step, the most important aspect is to frequently remind your team about the value that can come from being courageous. Don’t forget to remind them that the definition of ‘courageousness’ does not include words like ‘brashness’ or ‘recklessness.’

  2. Portray boldness: Make courage a defining characteristic of your own leadership style and work. Share examples of both taking a risk and it paying off for you and a time where you experienced a setback in the pursuit of a challenging goal. Being honest about mistakes will lend itself to your authenticity and, at the same time, your team will benefit from hearing from a time where courage paid off for you.

  3. Ask intentional questions: When an employee may have been faced with an opportunity to take a risk and be courageous but decided not to, take the time to review the decision with them and ask thought-provoking questions. The author also suggests asking what the employee would have done if they weren’t concerned about negative impacts.

  4. Provide real-time feedback: Instead of waiting for an opportunity to give one-on-one feedback, use routine meetings and decisions to give immediate feedback. “Regular encouragement to be courageous helps build the habit of courage at work and lessens fear in the face of challenge,” writes the author.

  5. Embrace mistakes as opportunities: This one might be the most important. Embrace ‘psychological safety’ – a popular buzzword in the business world these days – by creating a space where your employees feel safe to experiment, question assumptions, and sometimes fail in the pursuit of greatness. Explain that mistakes, within reason, are usually an opportunity to learn.

Harnessing courage can help your team become innovative, adaptable, and bold. Much of our job as leaders is to help inspire our team to do great things and instilling in them a sense of courage is one way to help them achieve both personal and professional success.

Credit unions can gain even more insights into innovative strategies that can dramatically impact their growth during NAFCU’s Strategic Growth Conference, happening in Nashville, Tenn., from March 21 – 23, 2023. Save $200.00 on registration for a limited time with code GROWTHSAVINGS

I hope to see you there.

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