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Courage in Leadership and Leadership in Courage


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Courage in Leadership and Leadership in Courage

  1. 1. “Courage in Leadership and Leadership in Courage” A Guided Discussion Dr Santrupt B. Misra AIMA: Young Leaders Retreat, Goa November 17, 2012  
  2. 2. “Courage is the first of human virtues because it makes all others possible” Aristotle 2
  3. 3. They all displayed courage! Did they display courage of the same kind? Lets start with a Quiz! 3
  4. 4. What is Courage?  Origin of the word in English: • From ‘corage’, ‘coraticum’ and ‘cor’  • Pertaining to the ‘heart’ , a common metaphor for the inner  strength one has • Used in a broader sense to depict ‘what is in one’s mind or thoughts’ and hence shaping one’s actions, hence ‘Bravery’,  ‘zeal’ and ‘strength’  Meaning of ‘Courage’ from Sanskrit ( a few examples): • धृतित (self command, resolution, will, firmness)  • पराक्रम ( valour, heroism, energy, prowess, good deed) • धैर्य र (durability, daring, patience, forethought, fortitude)  • उपक्रम ( initiative, remedy, start, stratagem)  4
  5. 5. When have you displayed  courage? 1 5
  6. 6. Courage is found in the unlikeliest of places Rosa Parks: Resisting bus segregation Malala Yousafzai: Exercising one’s Right to Education Courageous acts create new heroes, new leaders, new movements. They start with a cause – Courage follows! 6
  7. 7. What is Courage in Corporate Context? 7
  8. 8. When do you stay away from being courageous? 2 8
  9. 9. When to Stay Away It is important to follow instructions, take cover, step back and priortise ! 9
  10. 10. What forms of courage are you comfortable with? 3 10
  11. 11. Forms of Courage Big heroic feats Small things that lead to a big change Physical Courage • Fear is a natural phenomenon. • Being frightened is different from showing fear Moral Courage • The ability to distinguish right from wrong • Say so when asked, irrespective of what your superiors might think or what your colleagues or your subordinates might want 11
  12. 12. Forms of Courage When a disaster strikes courage is impulsive • For example: People trying to save lives during a factory mishap In business, courage can be defined as a special skill of calculated risk taking There is a thin line between courage and rashness • A rash person fears nothing, pretending to be courageous even in the face of disease and war, when fear is appropriate 12
  13. 13. Courage in Leadership The list of characteristics or virtues that comprise great leadership is long and often contradictory For an aspiring leader it becomes difficult to find the starting point The expectations and the needs of those being led further complicates the situation Leadership is highly personal; what works for one person might not work for another However Leadership must start from within the leader’s heart, where real courage resides Courage is a necessary trait of effective leadership. Leaders can not display the other traits of leadership if they didn’t have courage 13
  14. 14. 14 Courage in Leadership  A Socio political crisis and that threatens operations and lives  A middle manager blows the whistle on corruption at the highest levels of his company  A young manager refuses to work on her boss’s pet project because she fears it will discredit the organization  A CEO urges his board, despite push back from powerful, hostile members, to make a serious investment in environmentally sustainable technology  A Star performer in the team is found to be violating on Values How often have you faced such situations and what has been your response as individual leaders and an organisation?
  15. 15. 15 Courageous Leader  Ability to choose and decide  Speaks up and has a voice, not a ‘yes’ man  Open to innovation and starting unique and untried things  Courage to expand even when things are comfortable  Ready to make tough and unpopular decisions, for the greater good  Plans and Communicates effectively , team executes  Has confidence in others, trusts them and also gives up on some control  Has the ability to hold people accountable and fire the poor performers  Has the courage to change direction, does not fear change  Takes on and Manages ambiguity
  16. 16. 16 How to build leadership in Courage? 4
  17. 17. 17 Leadership in Courage Courage Acquire Display Practice Different forms of courage and different levels of courage
  18. 18. 18 Leadership in Courage As leaders, what can we doing to make ‘courage’ the core of our organisation and our people? As an organization how do we create future courageous leaders? Is there a method ? How do we ensure that rashness does not raise its head in the guise of courage?
  19. 19. 19 Leadership in Courage Everyone has the capacity to be courageous Courage is a teachable and learnable skill Three basic areas where an organisation’s leadership requires focus is • ‘Trying’ Courage : Initiative and Actions - encouraging first attempts and pursuance of pioneering efforts • ‘Trusting’ Courage : Confidence in others – letting go of the need to control situations or outcomes, having faith in people, being open to direction and change • ‘Telling’ Courage : Voice – raising the difficult queries, providing a tough feedback and sharing seemingly unpopular opinions
  20. 20. 20 Thank You!