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.
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.
Here are some things you can do to develop managerial courage:
- Make sure you have all the information you need about the issue. Have your ducks in a row as nothing beats credibility than faulty information.
- Make sure you give the information to the person who can do something about it.(do not share your thoughts with others)
- If you have a difficult message to deliver, don’t go off a tangent during the conversation. Get to the point. . People are smart, they want to know what is going on, so say it directly and with respect. . “Managerial courage comes in search of a better outcome, not destroying others.” * Make sure that you have a solution to give. It is never helpful to complain without showing you have thought through another possible alternative.
- Make sure you mentally prepare for what feelings you may bring out. Use your HR staff, manager or coach to plan your success strategy. Don’t be caught off guard and appear unprepared or unsure.
- Timing is everything. Issues are best dealt with quickly, but not necessarily when emotions are running high.
- Is this personal? Do you find yourself always at the brunt of issues. Is it your style to be critical? Make sure you understand your intentions.
- Keep an open mind. You may hear new information that adds a different dimension. Remember this is a conversation that is leading to a new action.
These are just a few tips on working towards managerial courage. It takes time and requires support to build.
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.
Janis Adds – Managerial Courage is an important quality in business. Take a listen to how Managerial Courage can be applied to improve your effectiveness.
Judy 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.