Today is part six in my series about nine ingredients that cannot be separated from quality leadership. Like Siamese twins joined at the hip—they just go together. Any leader without them is incomplete or unhealthy. Since my blog posts are about leading the next generation, I’m hopeful these short articles will help you deepen your effectiveness as a leader, parent, coach or teacher.
In this post, we’ll discuss courage. I used to underestimate the necessity of courage in a leader’s life. Today—I don’t. Leadership and courage cannot be separated. Why? Because leadership summons a person to take the first risk; to take initiative when there is not guarantee of success; to move forward when none may take the journey with them.
It’s the Star Trek Principle. (This is one of our Habitudes. Habitudes are images that form leadership habits and attitudes.) The reason the TV show “Star Trek” took off (pardon the pun) was because space travel became popular in the 1960s with the Apollo Space mission to the moon, and because of an innate human reality: people love to see someone “boldly go where no man has gone before.” Especially students. Kids need to see role models who don’t merely play it safe, but do the unconventional; the risky.
This is a second cousin to innovation—but it’s not the same. You can be innovative but never act on your ideas. Courage or initiative demands you step out and risk something. Money. Time. Energy. Reputation. Innovation happens on the inside of a person. Courage demonstrates it on the outside. It’s an external act.
Winston Churchill said that courage is the first quality of leadership which makes all the other qualities possible. Brilliant. Without courage, you really can’t lead.
So here are my questions for you regarding courage:
- Do you consider yourself a courageous person?
- Would others describe you as a courageous person or leader?
- How do you demonstrate that you are taking risks in your leadership?
- In what area have you stepped out and boldly taken initiative?