Courage - Most Important Virtue For Leaders

In order to be a truly effective leader, there are so many varied attributes, traits, skills, experiences and training needed that it is often challenging to pinpoint one trait as more important than another. During my more than three decades of training, developing and qualifying over a thousand leaders, I have continuously struggled with this issue. However, I have decided that the one thing someone needs in order to even have a chance of being an effective leader is courage. Leaders must dare to stand up for their beliefs, expose themselves to objections, controversy and disagreement, lead by example, and develop an inner strength that requires true bravery. C.S. Lewis wrote, "Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point."

1. How can you be a real leader if you are unwilling or unable to stand up for, and express your beliefs? Courage is generally something that cannot be taught, but is rather a result of someone feeling so strongly about something that he is willing to dare to be ridiculed, disagreed with, opposed, and even unpopular. All the great leaders have achieved their greatness because they realized that leadership must never be solely about popularity, nor can leaders simply follow the lead of others. One is not a leader, by definition, if he follows instead of leads. Will the leader stand up and be brave, and lead others to achieve, and to strive for goals directed at achieving what he considers his vital vision? Obviously, this daring only occurs when someone has the courage of his convictions.

2. Having this necessary courage is different than being fearless. Courage means that someone has priorities, and although he may fear the repercussions or responses/ reactions of others, he is still willing to pursue those courses that lesser leaders will not. A true leader is a think outside the box, introspective, ramifications based leader, who understands that his integrity requires this courage, and without the integrity, he will lose the respect of potential and actual followers, supporters and donors. History teaches us that people respect courageous leaders even if they disagree with them, because they feel that having courage is an integral part of integrity, and one cannot be a leader if he ever compromises on his integrity.

Have you ever observed someone in leadership who seems to fear making a decision, especially a controversial one? Or, will only speak up after he weighs the sentiment and points of others? Or, instead of setting the agenda, permits others to set it for him because he fears rocking the boat? Leadership requires taking timely action, and this often means that someone must dare to have courage.

Richard Brody, with over 30 years consultative sales, marketing, training, managerial, and operations experience, has trained sales and marketing people in numerous industries, given hundreds of seminars, appeared as a company spokesperson on over 200 radio and television programs, and regularly blogs on real estate, politics, economics, management, leadership, negotiations, conferences and conventions, etc. He has negotiated, arranged and/ or organized hundreds of conferences and conventions. He's a Senior Consultant with RGB Consultation Services, an Ecobroker, a Licensed Buyers Agent (LBA) and Licensed Salesperson in NYS, in real estate.
Richard has owned businesses, been a Chief Operating Officer, a Chief Executive Officer, and a Director of Development, as well as a consultant. He has a Consulting Website ( ), and his company PLAN2LEAD, LLC's site ( ), and can be followed on Twitter

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