Bakers Journal

Leadership and courage

February 6, 2020
By Dr. Steve Yacovelli

Easy bravery tactics for when it’s hard to do something new

When you think about being courageous in the workplace, even if you’re being your bravest self, there’s there’s 3 “courage-inhibitors” that can prevent you from being your most courageous, effective leadership self.

1. The Challenge of Fear
Cowardice and abundance of workplace complacency come down to one simple thing: fear. It can be broken down into two subtypes: (A) Fear of Failure, and (B) Fear of Feeling Like an Outsider. With Fear “A,” people strive for perfectionism, where the idea of submitting anything less than perfect could alter the opinion of a boss or trusted ally.Typically, many want their best foot forward; they want to be seen as a rock star performer. But Fear “B” comes from a more personal place, where challenging the status quo may make some feel like an outsider within the workplace. This desire to avoid the feeling of being “other” leads to complacency, even knowing that the idea really needs to be challenged for the good of the organization. Having leadership courage here is to be OK with failing, with being perceived as that outsider for the sake of doing better work, benefiting your team members or moving your organization forward.

2. Assumptions Challenges
It’s easy to connect the dots between one It’s easy to connect the dots between problems, even when they aren’t related, without taking the time to examine your own approach. In terms of courage, you’re either avoiding truly understanding the situation, or you’re scared to dive deeper into the situation. Having leadership courage means lifting up those rocks and seeing what’s underneath. Lack of courage means making assumptions about the situation without all the information.

3. Persistent Behaviors
Most people don’t like change. A vast majority of people hate change. Why? At the unconscious level, humans don’t like change because it hits a part of our brain that likes safety and security. As our ancestors grew as a species, they were wired to be fearful of change: Something new might lead to a danger. When most people experience change, it leads to an unsettling feeling of vulnerability. Your conscious self doesn’t like change because it’s difficult. There’s a tendency to simply get used to situations, know how to act and adjust to them, even if the situation isn’t ideal. As humans we tend to be OK with bad situations/bosses/friends/relationships, because we know where we stand in this context. Some people don’t like change so much that they’d sooner stay in a bad situation because it’s familiar rather than change. It takes courage to try something different, and to keep at it when it doesn’t work perfectly. As a leader, courage should be the bedrock that’s your foundation, the courage to challenge the status quo, and to be your authentic and effective self in front of the world.

Dr. Steve Yacovelli’s book, Pride Leadership: Strategies for the LGBTQ+ Leader to be the King or Queen of their Jungle, came out June 2019.

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