George Washington, who is considered America’s father, was born on February 22, 1732. He had many fine traits. In addition to being a master diplomat, he was a brave and wise man. These traits were needed to help lead America’s independence from Britain. For those who do not know much about George Washington, below is a short video about him.
As I reflect on his birthday, I thought about other leaders who embodied strength, wisdom, bravery and other admirable virtues. Below are some of the traits that I believe embody a courageous leader.
Lead by example
Don’t agree to or promise anything you’re not absolutely sure you can deliver. These are times when you possess neither the time nor the resources to complete a task. Be upfront and honest with people of your current limitations.
Keep a reasonable schedule. Do not be overly optimistic or naive of your current constraints. Look at your calendar and forecast in advance what you can accomplish within a certain timeframe.
Don’t make excuses. If you made a promise to complete a task and you have the necessary resources (i.e. time, supplies and equipment), just do it. Outside of a freak event beyond your control, be a person of your word and complete the task.
Encourage employee growth and development
You cannot meet your organizational goals without nurturing the development of your staff. Staff development requires an active effort to facilitate a learning environment. Make sure you do the following in your organization:
Conduct regular performance reviews. Whether it be quarterly or annually, make sure you maintain a consistent schedule.
Recognize and reward accomplishments. Acts of recognition can be as simple as an email message or announcement in a staff meeting. You can reward staff through paid time off, physical gifts or monetary awards.
Manage bad employee behavior. Send a message to your staff that you do not tolerate actions that could undermine your company goals. If a staff person flagrantly ignores policies and procedures, do not be afraid to discipline or terminate their employment.
Facilitate a mentoring program. One of the easiest ways to nurture growth is to learn from the mistakes and lessons of others. Allow senior members to meet regularly with junior staff. Senior members also benefit because they can develop leadership skills through their mentor relationships.
Be a can-do leader
Courageous leaders see things others cannot. They embody these characteristics:
They are strategic in reaching their organization goals. Set realistic goals and determine ways your organization can achieve those goals. Involve others to help you find ways to minimize or remove complications.
Listen to unpopular advice. Diversity of ideas leads to an objective view of an issue. Avoid the echo chamber of similar opinions. Make sure you hear perspectives from all sides, including those viewed as unpopular.
Calm, courageous and positive. A rash, fearful and negative personality never inspires change within an organization. Fight against this tendency by reminding yourself that people look to you for vision. You cannot be aware of opportunities if you maintain a negative outlook.
Take risk in the face of risk. Even if a task looks utterly difficult to do, do not be afraid to move forward. Working through difficulties builds resilience to stress. Also, each challenge will help you to become braver and wiser.
Do not be ashamed to admit mistakes. Despite our best efforts, we all will make mistakes. Instead of denying a mistake, learn from it and do not be ashamed to share it with others. Sharing your mistakes facilities a positive learning environment within your organization.
Never burns bridges
Sometimes business deals may not go well with others. You may need to remove yourself from a deal. As a result, we may view some contacts unfavorably. But you do not need to end a business relationship.
Why risk even more loss when you may need them in the future?
In what ways have you been courageous at the workplace? How were others impacted? I would love to read your story! Please write it in the comment section below.