Courage: Secret CEO or CSO superpower? Not like you might think

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Courage: Secret CEO or CSO superpower? Not like you might think

With all of the volatile complex ambiguities facing anyone in business today, no wonder it takes resilience – grit – tenacity – optimism – courage to turn adversity into opportunity and thrive.

But what happens when a leader’s Courage is so overpowering that it stifles the initiative – confidence – enthusiasm of coworkers or subordinates? And inhibits rather than vitalizes innovation?

According to this leadership report from the National Post, leaders who temper their confidence with humility and sensitivity PowerUP more brilliance – resourcefulness – performance in their teams than bold leaders who are the smartest and most vocal persuasive voices in the room.

According to our Courage Institute studies – and those cited in the National Post, there’s a big difference between being a high-courage leader who has Courage – and a Chief Courage Officer who builds and nurtures Courage in others. In innovation initiatives, solving hard complex problems is better and faster when leaders build courage – and suffer fewer setbacks and mistakes.

We see it over and over. A complex problem or obstacle surfaces and one really smart take-charge person steps forward to say, “Here’s what to do,” and defines the direction. If that take-charge person has a rank in the hierarchy, a gender, age group, a profession or a nationality that is used to being in-charge, it feels natural to be bold and decisive. You’re not even aware that your voice is overshadowing others – and may create blind spots that a more humble leader would prevent with open discussion, debate and by fostering a more flexible issue-centered hegonomy.

If you’re a take-charge, lean-in, agile inventive extroverted leader – it takes practice to see an urgent threat or opportunity and channel your adrenaline into courage-building rather than taking over, finding solutions and telling others what to do. It takes a different kind of courage to hold back and give space for others to lean in and take charge – and to put pressure on their accelerator, not yours, when they need to do it faster better and leaner.

To develop the courage-building side of your C-suite – or the high-potential leaders you tap for innovation accelerating assignments – you may want to see how a vivid business simulation can reshape instincts. Or check out our book, PowerUP Brilliance. It presents our research – and IBM’s – about why so many CEOs don’t get as much brilliance – ingenuity – foresight – initiative as they know their enterprises need to invent the next big thing and create wealth from that invention. And what you can do about it.

By |2017-07-17T18:04:03+00:00March 25th, 2017|Company Culture, Leadership Development|

About the Author:

Merom Klein PhD, business psychologist and serial entrepreneur, wrote the book about Courage to PowerUP Brilliance™ for real innovation. For 30+ years, he's equipped C-level teams to delegate, empower, trust and ennoble their best and brightest stars to Lead from the Middle, accelerate post-merger integration and drive innovation. And he's equipped mid-level leaders to step in, reach out, take charge and seize big new opportunities in matrix structures and cross-functional global innovation, talent management and M&A integration teams.
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