“King of the Forest” (KOF) Courage in Leadership Model
Purpose – to determine level of courageous leadership behavior
Open System – behavior of leaders is affected by external factors
Worldview – behavior of leaders is affected by their past experiences and perspectives
Definition of Courage
“mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty” (Merriam-Webster Online, 2009)
courage is the “first of the human qualities” (Winston Churchill) and Aristotle referred to courage as the first virtue. (Treasurer, 2009)
Definition of Courage “Courage is what it takes to overcome fear. Fear is an emotion appropriate to perceived risk. Thus to exhibit courage one must both perceive a risk and proceed in spite of it. Suppose a child has fallen through the ice on a lake and could be saved if reached. A person who walks out on the ice believing it to be very thick requires no courage because he perceives no risk, even though others may think him courageous. A person who correctly perceives that the ice is thin and stays off it likewise exhibits no courage; rather we call his action prudent or cowardly, depending on whether or not the ice is, in fact, too thin for safety. Courage is required only of a person who proceeds to rescue the child in full knowledge that the ice is thin.” (Dickerson – CTO of Infoworld Media Group, 2004)
KOF Courage in Leadership
Courage – Difficult to Define Implicit Theories of Courage (Christopher, Clarke, Lindsay, & Sternberg, 2007)
study how courage is perceived through various lenses
29 descriptions or definitions
no consensus on one definition.
Behavior as opposed to personality trait
“Courage may be better understood as an exceptional response to specific external conditions or circumstances than as an attribute, disposition, or character trait (generally acknowledged as long-term and stable across situations) which appears to be the intent of many definitions and descriptions of courage. Perhaps researchers are on firmer ground when they label someone as ‘‘courageous’’ based on their actions in a given situation.”
Courage is a behavior despite a perceived risk
Important - commonality of behaviors in leadership and courageous leadership
Four major courageous behaviors (elements)
Focus/Mission Self-Awareness Connect with Followers Confidence Expectations Accountability Diversity Seek Support Trust Not about you Sense of Humor Integrity Passion Growth Development Lead by Example Know fear Acknowledgement Encouragement Care Community KOF Model
Application of KOF Model
Survey leaders to determine beliefs/leadership styles and level of KOF elements (perceived risk/behavior)
Survey followers to determine beliefs/leadership styles and level of KOF behavior
Analyze results and identify discrepancies
Interview individuals not in leadership roles
Who are really perceived as being leaders in the organization? Why?
What KOF elements are/are not being implemented despite the risk involved?
What are the barriers to KOF elements?
External factors? Internal factors?
Courage is a behaviordespiteaperceived risk at a given moment
Survey and then talk and observe – who are the leaders?
Look for behaviors in the four key elements
Are leaders playing it safe or being courageous?
Safe keeps you where you are, but it may not get you where you want to go. And remember…. Kings may have “courage,” but good leaders behave courageously