Managerial Courage is a Winning Skill

managerial courage

Managerial Courage – Undoubtedly, this is the single most enviable quality that distinguishes great leaders and ensures respect from team managers and high-potential employees.

In business today there seems to always be an increasingly level of uncertainty, continual need to make decisions rapidly, frequently lines of responsibility are uncliear and contradictory demands being made by challenging clients and/or employees.

There is absolutely no question that courage may be one of the most necessary elements required to be a successful and highly regarded leader.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” ~Martin Luther King

courage-1197372_640 Managerial Courage – Demonstrated

It is very evident that Managerial Courage exists when we see – 

  1. Courage to face reality and to express it
  2. Courage to speak the truth and to express it
  3. Courage to rely on others
  4. Courage to weed out those who can’t succeed
  5. Courage to question the status quo
  6. Courage to make decisions in risky or uncertain situations
  7. Courage to work outside our comfort zone
  8. Courage to live by and enforce values
  9. Courage to impose rigorous standards
  10. Courage to be one’s self

It isn’t uncommon for people to feel uncomfortable when they become vulnerable by taking a personal risk, exposing their thoughts and /or beliefs or face up to some stiff challenges in front of them. As difficult as it may be, choosing to use courage can make a powerful and positive impact on employees, business and the bottom line.

“Courage is grace under pressure.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

Recognizing Managerial Courage in a Leader

Some of the behavioral indicators may be  when someone –

  • Achieves results in a manner that is consistent with organizational expectations
  • Provides corrective feedback to others
  • Deals with people problems and situations head-on
  • Swiftly administers action (negative or positive) if situation merits it

 “You will never achieve anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honour.“ ~ Aristotle

courage medalDeveloping Managerial Courage

No one wants to appear as the Cowardly Lion in front of their managers, peers or subordinates. How can you start to develop, build and strengthen your  managerial courage?

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Ask direct questions to find out what employees really think and feel then really listen to their responses and acknowledge them.
  2. Strive for consistency in your words and behaviors.
  3. Make sure you have all the information you need about the issue before acting. Nothing kills credibility more than faulty information.
  4. Be an open minded leader. Listen for new information that may impact decision making.
  5. Offer up information to someone who can do something about it without sharing your thoughts with everyone else.
  6. When you have a difficult message to deliver, don’t go off a tangent during the conversation. Get to the point.
  7. Make sure you mentally prepare for what feelings you may bring out. Don’t be caught off guard and appear unprepared or unsure.
  8. Timing is everything. Issues are best dealt with quickly, but not necessarily when emotions are running high.
  9. Get out of your office ­ it’s key to building personal relationships.
  10. Read books, hire a coach, join a MasterMind Group.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not the one who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ~ Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

Please enjoy the following article by Judy Mackenzie, MBA, CHRP, CEC PCC and listen to her YouTube Talk on how Managerial Courage can be applied to improve your effectiveness.


Managerial Courage – Can you be an effective leader without it?

Managerial Courage

I have been a human resources executive for many years and the one skill or attribute that continues to be a derailer for leaders is the “lack of managerial courage.” This may not be a familiar term to you so let me explain.

Managerial courage is a key skill in the Lominger competency framework that was developed by Mike Lombardo and Bob Eichinger and has roots back to when they both worked at Creative Centre for Leadership. The definition is as follows “saying what needs to be said at the right time, to the right person, in the right way, is managerial courage.”

If you can speak up when someone is; with holding information, being toxic in the workplace, knows things that others need to hear, or when someone is performing as they should and you acknowledge it, you have managerial courage. If you watch these and other types of behaviours to look for opportunities to discuss, but they never come, you do not have managerial courage. It is that clear.

I can help you speak with clarity, while reducing drama , misunderstandings , fear, while encouraging your people to action.
Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something else is more important.
-Ambrose Redmoon

Does this sound familiar?

There is a manager/employee in your organization that is known for only seeing what “doesn’t work”. They never seem to be around when things are going well or when someone comes up with a great idea. They seem to be able to point out issues very quickly but they are not as quick to uncover solutions and even make suggestions.

These people generally don’t go to the source to make a complaint, they may share this information with others in the office (I say they are recruiting supporters) to bounce their ideas or fears off. They are shifting your culture and undermining authority while they recruit.

They also are always pointing the finger of blame elsewhere. They have become your corporate “Teflon Person.” Most companies have one of these.

These people always try to be on the side of popular opinion, at least in public. They really don’t like taking a tough stand. These are the people whoagree in meetings and then have a completely different opinion in the hallway.

These are all features of a lack of managerial courage. I am sure you recognize this in many people but who knew it had a label and the ability to put it in behavioural terms so you can performance manage it out of existence. This can be dealt with and modelled throughout your organization and it is so much easier than you think.


Ways to learn “Managerial Courage”

At TEVO Consulting there are several services that we offer to teach and develop managerial courage to you and your staff. Leadership Coaching is a one on one program that is used for leadership development and skill enhancement.


TEVO CONSULTINGJudy Mackenzie, MBA, CHRP, CEC PCC, owns and operates TEVO Consulting Inc. for small and medium sized businesses and The Champion’s Mindset, focused on personal development. She is also the author of “Women Rock the Business World – A Planning Guide for Women Entrepreneurs“.

TEVO’s mission is to assist companies in reaching their strategic goals by developing leadership and people management systems that allow employees to be at their best. Judy believes engaged employees are fundamental to business success, and she designs support and management systems to help people and companies achieve their full potential.

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Contact by email or call Janis directly @ (604) 731-2073  

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