Try Courage

Read a challenging post by Karen Davey-Winger who simply suggest trying courage on for a size. Read it and enjoy.

Last year I gave a presentation called Courageous Leadership. It used the concepts in a book by Bill Treasure called Courage Goes to Work, and I’d provided input to a training course based on Treasurer’s work a while ago. He quotes some frightening statistics about the damaging effect of fear in the workplace – at least a third of US employees waste 20 hours a month complaining about their bosses, stress related illnesses account for a third of US worker absenteeism, and 37% of US workers reported being bullied at work, to name a few.

We see fear, and courage, in all aspects of our lives. So in this weeks blog I thought I’d use Treasurer’s three types of courage to give you a mini coaching session!

TRY Courage

TRY courage is associated with action. It’s stepping up to pioneer a new idea, a new approach or a new solution. It takes initiative, and it moves us out of our comfort zone and requires us to overcome inertia. We avoid it because there is a risk of failure, and that risk may result in someone else being negatively impacted by our actions.

ACTION: What have you been avoiding because it’s new, and you’re not sure what impact it will have? Or perhaps you feel like it’s too much of a stretch. Whatever it is, look at the risk. Make sure you have a contingency plan, and then do it. Take the new approach, try a new solution, implement a new idea.

REFLECTION: How did it feel to step up and try something new? Who was impacted and how? What was the result? How has it moved you/your project/your relationship forward? What did you learn?

TRUST Courage

TRUST courage is associated with inaction. It’s about letting go, following the lead of others. It’s trusting that someone else really does know what they’re doing, and that they will meet the goal/deliver the project/mend the relationship, even if the path they follow to get there isn’t quite the same as your path. It feels uncomfortable because it requires giving up control. And the risk is that there will be a negative outcome to you, not to someone else.

ACTION: Identify what you need to do to trust a situation, person or team. What are your criteria? What information do you need? Identify a situation where you know that showing trust courage will improve the outcome. Identify the risk, look at ways for mitigating it and then let go, stand back, and trust that the outcome will be the right one.

REFLECTION: How easy was it to let go and trust? What result did it have? How were you impacted by being able to trust? What did you learn?

TRY Courage

TRY courage is associated with speaking up. It’s about telling the truth in a situation or relationship. It requires us to be assertive, to find our voice. It might be defending a position for the greater good, admitting we’ve made a mistake, or saying sorry. It’s perhaps the hardest type of courage because the risk is rejection – by the person or group that we are standing up against. If we’re rejected we fear we won’t belong anymore, and so it’s often easier just not to speak up.

ACTION: Identify a situation where you’ve been biting your tongue about something that’s really important to you. You’ve been quiet about it, hoping it will resolve itself, worried that you will offend the other person and that they will reject you. Steal yourself. Write down what you want to say, be mindful of your tone and body language so that you are assertive not aggressive. Then speak up.

REFLECTION: How did it feel to prepare for speaking up and then to actually speak up? How has it impacted the situation or your relationship with the person or group in question? How do you feel about yourself now? What did you learn?

It’s hard to be courageous. It stretches us, we’re often out of our comfort zone, and it requires us to take risks. But it’s often necessary for all of the same reasons.

So as you walk in to work today, think. What situations or relationships, either personal or professional, would be improved if you were courageous? Look at the risk, and consider your mitigation options. And then act, sit back, or speak up. Because as Winston Churchill once said “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities…because it is the quality that guarantees all others”.

Let me know how it goes!