Berger Leadership Blog

Feb 14, 2014

Traits of a courageous leader

Woman skiier

With the Olympics upon us, my daughter and I have been spending some time watching men and women from all over the world race in downhill skiing, jump lengths well beyond that of a football field while wearing skis and plunge headfirst down an icy track. Despite all their talent, enthusiasm and resilience, another word they bring to mind is this: courage.

Being a CEO takes courage. Being a CEO during tumultuous times – whether due to the economy, your particular market or even due to factors within your own business – requires an even healthier dose of courage.

Forbes’ Susan Tardanico lists 10 traits of a courageous leader. Here are some of my favorites:

  • communicate openly and frequently;
  • make decisions and move forward;
  • give credit to others; and
  • hold people (and yourself) accountable.

Be sure to read all 10 traits she lists. does a good job explaining how to cultivate courage (as if the Olympics don’t already paint the perfect picture): “You develop it through experience. Every time you face a fear, you build confidence and courage. No matter the outcome, it’s never as bad as your fear makes it out to be.”

When you witness someone else leading his or her business far beyond what was thought possible, and you (and I) want to emulate their success, ask yourself: Do I have the courage to put in the necessary work, take the risks and make the hard decisions to make it happen?