“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; . . . who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”—Theodore Roosevelt
One of our core beliefs at Creative Group is Courage. We are not first responders, nor firemen or police officers, so when we choose to be brave, the choice may not be as obvious. But we believe that in order to grow as individuals, we need to insert ourselves into situations that may make us feel uncomfortable. Not in a morally uncomfortable way, but into tasks that challenge us and onto paths that test us.
Being brave is not always the easiest thing to do; in fact, it may be one of the hardest things to do. But bravery (small or big) inspires others around us. When one sees that you accomplished what you set out to do, it may give them just the boost they needed to take their next step. By being brave we not only help ourselves grow but help others grow and become inspired along the way.
For some, just witnessing bravery may inspire, but not ignite action. As leaders, we have the duty to help identify what it takes to turn the ignition and move the needle in courageous feats. What are you doing to push your employees and motivate them to take courageous steps? Here are some ideas:
- Reward Bravery – it may be a lot easier to reward a job well done, but it says a lot more to acknowledge situations that didn’t work out as planned. No one is perfect, and learning from our mistakes will make us all better in the end. If people aren’t afraid to fail, they will be more creative and innovative. Hiding from mistakes is a sure-fire way to stifle growth.
- Foster a Culture of Courage – Challenging the status quo and venturing out in ways that push convention will not only help people find their passion, but those same people will push the thinking of your company and help elevate it. A company’s biggest competitive advantage is its employees, so why not cultivate innovative thought-leadership?
- Ban Burnout – The antithesis of employee engagement, occupational burnout is characterized by lack of enthusiasm and motivation causing exhaustion and even frustration or cynicism. When employees are stressed and feel overworked, their energy and productivity will suffer. Provide an outlet, a platform, to voice these feelings and fix them before they turn detrimental to the employee and the organization.
In her New York Times Bestselling books, Daring Greatly and Rising Strong, social scientist and researcher Dr. Brené Brown writes about vulnerability as our most accurate measure of courage. She explains how vulnerability is both difficult, but also the source of love, belonging, joy, empathy, innovation, and creativity. See more about courage and vulnerability in her Ted Talk – The Power of Vulnerability.