How to face it (not fake it) until you make it

I’m just not a big fan of faking it. I have had to in the past, for sure, but I would much rather do the prep. Do the work. Do the thinking. And then, I’ll get up, dress up, and show up. And yes, sometimes fail. And other times shine. It’ll be a lesson or a blessing. The challenge for me with faking it is that imposter syndrome shows up (thanks for that research, Carl Jung), and it impacts my belief system about what I am capable of. 

Conversely, if I face up to what is happening, and get it done, even if it scares ‘you know what’ out of me, I’ll give myself every chance to succeed. But what does that take. It takes courage. And leadership courage is a central theme of our leading under pressure model. And we teach leaders the skills of having the courage to try, trust, and tell. 

Did you know though, that there are actually four types of courage. They were first unpacked by two researchers (Pury, C & Lopez, S in 2010), and since then, their model has been refined by authors like Cathy J. Lassiter, in 2017. The four types of courage include moral, disciplined, intellectual, and empathetic courage. Let’s look at these, and more specifically, let’s look at how you, as a leader, can step into action, by adopting one of these types of courage. 

1. Moral courage 

This is the courage that you need to stand up for injustices. To stand up when things are done that are immoral, unethical, or illegal. Think bullying. Think about being a bystander and think about what it would take for you to say something. Standing up for things that are not right does take courage; and getting over the fear of the outcome or the reaction of the human whose behaviour you are challenging. This is the courage that organisations (or some organisations) are now legally obliged to support… with a whistle blower policy. To make it easier to speak up against inappropriate behaviour or poor treatment of others. 

As a leader, it is your responsibility to have this courage, and to take a stand again behaviour that violates the concept of being a good human. Regardless of the consequences. Regardless of whether the behaviour is being perpetrated at higher or lower levels of the organisation than you currently work at. To have this courage, think about the person that is being hurt, and how much they need your help and support. 

2. Disciplined courage 

This is the courage that you need to stand up for your position. To stand up when things are going badly. When you are losing faith. Or others are losing faith in you. And it would be easier to quit, right now, and give it all away. To leave the business, or to take another course of action that means you don’t have to follow through on what you committed to, or that you know will be good for your or the business. This is the idea you had, or the project that you started on. Or the team that you took on. That aren’t performing. Discipline and the courage to persevere will get you over a lot of hurdles. Note that this courage is akin to being resilient. 

As a leader, it is your responsibility to have this courage, and to take a stand for what you commit to doing. And to not giving in easily. Yes, that is easier said than done, but it is the tenacity that you started the project with that you will need to call on when the challenges show up. Which they will. Have a vision. Know your end goal, and know that the challenges are only temporary, and they are only sent to test your resolve. 

3. Intellectual courage 

This is the courage that you need to turn your knowledge into action. To go out and learn something, and then apply that knowledge. It is the courage to contribute at a higher level. It is the courage to take a research report (or a blog ?) and value the information enough to apply it to your leadership style. And to train others in it, because this new knowledge is important, and worthwhile. And it is about learning from your experience and applying those learnings to get better outcomes into the future. 

As a leader, it is your responsibility to have this courage, and to firstly… learn new things. Yes, leaders are learners. And without the commitment to learning new knowledge and skills, it is hard to apply anything new. Or to try something different. Secondly, intelligently courageous leaders challenge the norms. They are willing to back themselves to get a different result, through a new approach, and a new strategy. As much as others might push back at the time. Which will happen. Leaders that get good at rejection, get good at resilience. 

4. Empathetic courage 

My favourite form of courage. Love this one. We train leaders in this type of courage more than anything else. Empathy is an important leadership skill, but yes, it takes courage to implement. 

Empathetic courage is about being aware enough of your personal bias and challenging them, so that you are better placed to vicariously experience what others are going through. And why. It is about being the person that can understand the trials and tribulations of others, without being exclusive or judgemental. Empathy is a cognitive, emotional, and compassionate process (credit Daniel Goleman), where we look to think about and feel what others are experiencing, so that we can be there to include, support, or to care for them, as required. 

As a leader, it is your responsibility to have this courage, and to know that another person’s experience is their experience, is their reality, and it is important or even life changing for them. Just because you ‘judge’ it to be less than important or relevant, leaders need to step into their empathetic selves (we were all born with compassion – fun fact – we just forget it sometimes). And they need to hold the space so that the impacted person can talk and share in a safe space that is free from ridicule, resentment, or rejection. This is deep courage, and courage that has the potential to change lives. It’s that important (as are the other types of courage, of course). 

So, there you have it. The four types of courage. And why you should apply them as a leader. 

And how to face up to the things that cause you to be fearful. The things that take courage to face. 

Reach out and let me know how you get on, and how that courage shows up for you! 

Want to learn more about how to be more courageous? 

Please click the image below if you’d like to chat about what leadership means to you.

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About Anton

Anton has dedicated his working life to helping leaders to upgrade their mindset, upskill their leadership, and uplift their teams! With a focus on helps leaders to better lead under pressure. Anton is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, bestselling author and founder of The Guinea Group. Over the past 19 years, Anton has worked with over 175+ global organisations, he has inspired workplace leadership, safety, and cultural change. He’s achieved this by combining his corporate expertise, education (Bachelor of HR and Psychology), and infectious energy levels.
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