insium's newsletter on leadership: September, 2016

Written by  Wednesday, 21 September 2016
Published in Newsletter
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Organisational Courage

Courage is a pattern of constructive opposition, in which an individual stands against social forces in order to remedy duress in the organisation.

Monica Worline, 2012

The VIA strengths of courage are bravery, perseverance, honesty and zest; practising these strengths have resulted in the following organisational benefits:

  • Improved accountability and responsibility
  • More effective working relationships
  • Increased self-efficacy and self-confidence
  • Broadened perception of what is possible and improved resourcefulness
  • Increased goal achievement
  • Increased ability to learn from mistakes
  • Increased positive energy, positive mood, empathy and conscientiousness
  • Increased prosocial orientation
  • Inspired others to act courageously 

Adapted from the works of Haidt (2002); Herman (1971); Hitz & Driscol (1989), Huhnke (1984); McQuaid& Lawn (2014); Peterson & Seligman (2004); Ryan & Deci (2000); Shepela, Cook, Horlitz, Leal, Luciano & Lufty (1997)

How do you build courage in your organisation?  A few ideas for your consideration that can be easily implemented include:

  • Embrace the “F” word … that is “failure.”  Normalise and forgive mistakes.  Rather than blame, learn.
  • Rather than compare and compete, collaborate.
  • Cultivate an unexpected workplace relationship.  Broker a new interaction every week.  Be sure to have a clear moral, worthwhile goal to do so.
  • Use mindfulness to harness your courage.
  • Speak up skilfully: one-to-one, in a meeting, to a large audience.
  • Support courage acts through coaching others.  Be courageous and coach.   

I’m keen to explore courage and leadership in organisations and have two questions for your consideration:

  • What are the (day-to-day) organisational issues that you would want leaders to demonstrate courage in addressing?
  • What would you like your leaders to do/achieve through demonstrating courage?

Let us know what you think.

Thank you to Judy Hilton, Jeldai King, Roz Rimes and Jayne West for inspiring me to further explore courage and leadership in organisations.  The work, learning and fun we had together in our university group assignment on the virtue of courage has led me here.


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