This is an interesting question and one which arose as part of coaching with a senior leader in an Australian publicly listed company. This is a recount of our journey of discovery as it unfolds, as right now this is a work in progress. This came from four very clear coaching goals the leader set, one of which is – this is their direct quote – “Being Brave as a leader is a key goal I have set for myself in 2014”.
We devoted our entire session to exploring what brave leadership would look like, sound like and feel like for this leader.
They concluded in pretty much any context being a brave leader was Acting on what we should do, regardless of the fear we might have. The operative word was Acting meaning that they have to do something/undertake some action.
They concluded there were a number of aspects that needed to be present for any leader to be brave.
- Perspective is essential – clear understanding of the context, boundaries and limitations are required within which they are operating and about to take action;
- Values and Value – High self-awareness is needed to understand their own personal values and those of their organisation as values are critical in guiding a leader’s action. Particularly during those times when action is required under pressure. Value from the perspective of knowing what value is created or results from their decision to initiate action;
- Mind-set and belief – In initiating a brave action, leaders have choices to make centred around what they and others need to focus on and what they will not focus on;
- Relationships – Initiating brave action leadership behaviour and the resulting relationships that form are key; everything said and done is noted, everything not said or done is noted – 24/7 forever;
- Behaviour – Brave leaders lead from the front, be the pacesetter, however, in doing so they need to set an appropriate pace, one that matches the circumstance ensuring the pace is not too slow so that it impedes progress, or so fast people disengage because they are unable to understand or maintain momentum because the demands and pressures are too high.
To test these beliefs, we discussed a range of scenarios, everything from the military to civilian and business situations where people showed brave leadership. In each instance they concluded it came down to choice, the above factors being present in some form, and the decision to take a brave leadership action was, at least initially, informed by the situation.
This raised the question is brave leadership different to courageous leader? The answer to that question will be shared future blogs.
Contact Vivente for Leadership Training in Sydney, Australia.