Emotional Courage

(Best Practices, Capacity Building) Permanent link

“It needed to be said.”

That one statement summed up the difference between another dance-around-the-issue meeting and a truly productive discussion. Persons willing to say what needed to be said.

Why does this seem such a rare occurrence? In his article, Why So Many Leadership Programs Ultimately Fail, Peter Bregman suggests that, for many, “the critical challenge of leadership is, mostly, the challenge of emotional courage.” Many just aren’t willing to experience the discomfort, risk, and uncertainty of saying what needs to be said.

This maxim not only applies to the one willing to break the ice – the rebel or outlier who may easily be ignored – but it also applies to the one willing to back the first one up. This first follower provides validity and serves to make the new issue a topic of discussion rather than a side comment.

Emotional courage, as Bregman says in his insightful article, is the difference between knowing and doing. All leaders know what to do. “What makes leadership hard isn’t the theoretical, it’s the practical.”

Developing emotional courage cannot be accomplished in a workshop or week away. It requires long-term development. How do you (or How would you like to…) develop your emotional courage?



Posted by Thom Andrews at 10/07/2013 09:28:38 AM | 

Wow, this the most important post I see here. Too often, meetings are exchanges of platitudes that only take you in well-worn directions. I love it when I or someone else can make the point or ask the question that cuts to the heart of why we aren't making more progress.

Sometimes,as the post says, that person is left dangling in space and needs some affirmation. Sometimes that person speaks awkwardly or offends someone or initially sounds like he or she is totally off target. It can help to have someone reiterate the point in a way the group can work with.

Rosalie Novara
Posted by: Rosalie Novara ( Email ) at 10/7/2013 1:25 PM

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