Being a leader takes courage. There’s no doubt about it. When you commit to being a leader, you commit to be present, inspire and never stop learning. Regardless of whether you choose to lead from the front of the room, the back of the room or somewhere in the middle – it’s imperative to step confidently into your leadership, understanding that our volatile world needs you.
Much easier said than done, however.
In my time growing as a leader and empowering those around me to step into their leadership, I have seen and experienced the many obstacles that block an individual’s path on their leadership journey. Leadership requires you to operate on the edge of your comfort zone, pushing yourself outside the realm of familiarity and into uncomfortable territory. This is when courage comes into play. It takes courage to push yourself and be uncomfortable, especially when the outcome is unknown.
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
– Winston Churchill
Churchill’s quote reminds us that speaking out and listening are both acts of leadership that require tremendous amounts of courage. For some of us, it’s easy to play it safe, keeping our heads down and our mouths shut, even when we feel strongly about something. Still for others, it’s easy to speak out, often failing to actively listen to the other voices around us.
In our rapidly changing environment, where the loudest person is often heard, I challenge you to operate outside of your comfort zone. If you tend to speak up more, I encourage you to listen. If you tend to keep your thoughts to yourself, I encourage you to speak up. But above all, I encourage you to recognize what each situation calls for, respecting our differing perspectives and employing your courageous leadership to heal our culture.
When I think about courage, I typically envision great historic icons, soldiers and heroes, but lately I’ve been reflecting on courage closer to home – the courageous men and women I know personally. From single parents to committed volunteers to friends chasing big dreams to nonprofit leaders like you, I’m surrounded by courageous men and women each and every day. It takes courage to lead at work, at home and in our communities. Every time we say “yes” and choose to lead, we show the world our courage.
Today, I salute you for being a courageous leader and am cheering for you on your leadership journey. Let’s keep showing the world our courage.
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can grow as a courageous leader, guiding others through times of uncertainty, consider attending Mission Driven, our 2017 Human Capital Summit. With tracks focused in leadership, change management, culture & core values and talent management, you’ll walk away feeling empowered as a resilient, mission-driven leader. Early bird registration is now open!