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Courage Lighthouse

It Takes Courage

Experts agree, trust is a necessity if you want a high performing and cohesive team (I decided against listing dozens of citations to support that. You’ve probably seen many of them already; they’re everywhere). When you think about what’s needed to build a solid foundation of trust, you may think of ideas such as:

  • being honest with one another (admitting mistakes, asking for help when needed),
  • authenticity (say what you mean and mean what you say)
  • integrity (walk your talk)
  • reliability (do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re doing to do it)
  • accountability (calling one another one behaviors that hurt the team; addressing poor performance)

I would agree; and certainly not an all-inclusive list. One key element in building trust, is actually a prerequisite to all those listed above: COURAGE. It’s a courageous person who can readily admit his/her mistakes to teammates, or who can open up the dialogue around the controversial issue that has become the “elephant in the room.” And I have never, not once, witnessed a team member [respectfully] calling another on an unproductive behavior without a second or two of nearly tangible courage-mustering.

In what workplace situations do we find it easy (or difficult) to behave courageously? How can we intentionally build our “courage” muscles, developing a stronger collective backbone for our team, our organization, our world?

Patrick Lencioni, author of Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Death by Meeting, and many other leadership texts, recently wrote about heroism (a result of acting courageously) in today’s society, communities, and workplaces. Here is a thought from Lencioni to leave you with: “The next time we witness someone taking a difficult stand for what is right, whether it is in the workplace, at school, in your church or little league, let’s take the time to tell them that we admire them for what they did. And better yet, let’s tell them that we wish we could be more like them, and that they’ve inspired us to try. Not only will that reinforce their heroic behavior, it will also increase the likelihood that the next time we are faced with a moment of truth, no matter how small it may seem, we choose to be a hero, too.”

Click on the image below to download our Courage Card. Keep it in front of you and support yourself to lead courageously!

All good wishes,
De Yarrison, CPCC
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De Yarrison

De is a certified professional Coach, Teambuilder and Facilitator of positive change. She is an adventurer in the world of relationships, blazing new trails of positive expression, resulting in happier leaders, employees, workplaces (and families).
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This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. I was once told that “all the heros are lying in Arlington” meaning that the most courageous people are now dead. In my experience that rings true. In some organizations trust is a one-way street and full of double standards where the boss only chooses to talk with certain members of his team and avoids communication with others. Some are forgiven and life seems to go on without any repercussions no matter how poorly they behave (e.g., where the boss is aware of team members constantly undermining other members of the team, team members descenting from agreed upon decisions), while others who may have simply been misunderstood are left wondering what happened even after the boss acknowledges the misunderstanding. The punishment remains, there is no apology, and the team member is left with nothing. The team member remains on the team, but feeling like an empty corpse or token member. Add another body to Arlington. After several years of that sort of treatment what does one do? Give up and leave? Or persevere in hopes that the team leader will change and start being courageous enough to communicate as well?

    1. Hi Cautiously Optimistic,
      I apologize for the delay in replying to your comment; I’ve been on a wonderful vacation without online access.
      I’ve worked with teams and team leaders similar to what you describe. It can be confusing and frustrating to witness inconsistent behavior and preferential treatment. There are no “right” answers to your questions as individuals will be motivated to act (or not) based on their own unique circumstances and needs. Ideally, someone in the organization with authority over the boss in question would recognize or be made aware of the behavior and expose the situation openly (to said boss). I’ve seen successful outcomes through leadership coaching, which among other benefits, will allow the boss in question to receive candid feedback and begin to explore the impact he/she is having on others. Not always an easy sell; that is where the courage comes in.
      Thanks for commenting!

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