Leadership and Courage

I’ve never been a fan of acronyms.  Sometimes I find them a little too simplistic for my taste.  However, not long ago I created on of my own in response to a question about leadership skills.  My thought was that often leaders today lack the courage to follow through with their vision and tend to bend or sway upon getting a little push back.  Someone asked me to define courage in the context of a college or organizational president or CEO.  I though about it quite a bit and came up with the following acronym.  I’ll introduce it today and, in the subsequent weeks, I’ll add a little more detail to each of the elements.  Let me know what you think as we go along…..

C O U R A G E

Courage in leadership is more than putting your fears aside and rushing ahead.  A courageous leader needs to be:

  • Creative.  Courage is the willingness to look outside the box.  Learn how to anticipate, research, and apply new solutions to changing conditions.
  • Orderly.  Courage is recognizing that moving an organization, like moving a ship, requires planning ahead and steering at the right time.  Random direction in an organization, like on a ship, gets you nowhere.
  • Understanding.  Courage is realizing that no one individual, including you, has a monopoly on wisdom.  Understand what others are saying.  Understand what the environment is telling you.
  • Resilient.  Courage is the ability to recover quickly from setbacks.  Einstein was often wrong, but used those mistakes to build lasting scientific truths.
  • Adaptive.  Courage is the willingness to change plans in an orderly manner as conditions change and the acceptance that we live in a dynamic environment requiring constant adaptation.
  • Generous.  Courage is owning failure and sharing success.  Giving others credit generously is a true leadership trait.
  • Energetic.  Courage is investing the time and energy to implement the vision, leading by example, and following through.
Courage and Leadership in Higher Education Rich Gross Solutions

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