Courage is essential to be successful in all aspects of life. It is important on spiritual, relational, and financial levels. Koerner (2014) states that “Courage is at the heart of the collaboration required for the innovative and entrepreneurial endeavors that allow organizations to thrive” (p. 65). A leader exhibits courage when he/she identifys an issue and takes the steps necessary for improvement. Problems will always exist in both business and life in general. It is up to a leader not only acknowledge these problems but have the courage to do something about them.
Clawson (2012) states “A large portion of society, the large majority of people, lives life in fear of rejection” (p. 7). We as a society are proud. We do not want to view ourselves as cowards. Some people are not, these are the people that we can observe in leadership roles. Other people that have great potential simply watch time pass them by, never taking a risk, and never mustering up the courage to take the actions needed to be truly successful. These are the people that in their later years realize that nothing they have done made a difference. Nothing they accomplished matters. These are the people that dream about “what could have been.” I don’t know everyone in this course personally but I believe it is safe to assume that none of us want to end our lives suffocated by sadness and regret.
True leaders are confident and courageous. Think for a moment of someone that you view as successful. This could be anyone, it might be a family member, or your boss, Carl Ichan, or Mark Cuban, it doesn’t matter. When you think of this person, no matter who it is, I can almost guarantee that this person does not cower in the face of adversity. A successful leader is not weak, a successful leader is strong. Strength has many different definitions. Strength not only applies to the physical, although there is no doubt that physical strength has made people successful, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger. Perseverance is strength, anyone that faces adversity and keep on going is strong. It is well known that Michael Jordan was cut from his Jr. High basketball team. What if he had quit. What if he had said “Maybe I’m just not good enough.” I can promise if he had we would all be wearing Kobe12’s instead of AirJordans. That is strength. That is courage. Innovation is strength as well. People like Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates had the strength and courage to make the impossible, possible. All of these people exhibited strength either through physical means, perseverance, or innovation. This strength IS NOT what made them successful. It IS NOT what made them world renowned leaders. For every strong person who becomes successful there are 10,000 that don’t. The difference between those who succeed and those who fail is simple. Courage.
A person can be the strongest in the world but without courage they will accomplish nothing. What good is strength if you do not do something with it? Using your strengths and having the courage to make a change is what it takes to be a successful leader. None of the people I mentioned in this post had it easy. All of their peers thought their goals were crazy but with strength, courage, and action they built a following, they inspired people, they achieved and then surpassed their goals, they became quintessential leaders. You can develop both strength of one type or another and courage and still not be successful, the final and most important piece of the puzzle is action. To become a truly great leader you must take action, even if it is the wrong one (Clawson, 2012)! You can always learn from your mistakes but you can never relive a day. To take action takes courage, and in my opinion courage is THE most important trait a true leader possess.
Clawson, J.G. (2012). Level three leadership (5th Ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Koerner, M. M. (2014). Courage as Identity Work: Accounts of workplace courage. Academy Of Management Journal, 57(1), 63-93. doi:10.5465/amj.2010.0641