This is an interesting question and one which arose as part of coaching with a senior leader in an Australian publicly listed company. What I intend to do is to recount our journey of discovery. The perceived need for brave leadership came from four very clear coaching goals this 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 2015”.
We invested time into exploring what brave leadership would look like, sound like and feel like for this leader.
The leader 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 is required within which you are operating and about to take action;
- Value and Values – High self-awareness is needed to understand your own personal values and those of your 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. In initiating action 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 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 this leader 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.
William Wallace on whom the highly fictionalised movie Braveheart is based was according to historical facts a brave leader; motivated by a situation he could no longer tolerate, choosing to take decisive action to address that situation based on a clear belief on which he refused to compromise. He paid the ultimate sacrifice by giving up his life for those things he valued so deeply.
Vivente Australia enables leaders and managers to create the conditions that allow their people to do their best work every day thus creating a powerful advantage: the synergy between people, leadership, management, and culture, produces performance that allows your business to achieve its outcomes.