True courage in leadership is often, and surprisingly, found in the little day to day things we do. Small acts of courage to make the hard choices, to confront adversity and uncertainty demonstrates to the organization that you follow a moral compass that will get the team from point a to point b without compromise of integrity or standards.
A mentor once told me to judge my leaders (or people posing as leaders) by whether or not they would "come get you in a fight." The phrase is a colorful one and a product of Army culture, but his message was really about judging my leadership's courage, their ability to stay the course, underwrite my organizations mistakes and stand behind my decisions when things got rocky.
Now more, than 10 years after he told me that, I find myself telling the leaders on my own teams that "I will come get you in a fight" and use that phrase to open the open the dialogue about my expectations for their courage and integrity levels. It is a powerful conversation to have when there is open dialogue about what you expect from your leaders.
One word of caution though ... ensure that your acts of courage are guided by a clear set of values that align with the organization's mission.
Without clearly understood values and alignment, acts of courage can rapidly be interpreted by others (and your team) as lunacy.
I highly recommend Mike Myatt's blog post on Leadership and Courage found at www.n2growth.com/blog/leadership-and-courage.
Sent from my iPhone