What are the ingredients to Courageous Leadership?

As I work with different leaders across different industries, I constantly re-evaluate what it takes to be a brave and authentic leader. What are those ingredients that if mixed together will create a great leader? This is a recipe based on some great thinkers as well as my experiences.


Add together and blend:

  • Build a strong Team. According to the leadership guru Warren Bennis, great leaders need to have the capacity to build a team with compatibility and transparency. A brave and honest team leader can accurately assess the team members’ strengths and blind spots in shaping the identity of their team. Through assessments as well as experience, leaders need to take the time to evaluate their employees’ capabilities, willingness to work with others, as well as their ability to be open and trustworthy. A tall order, but a critical ingredient and worth the effort and time.
  • Capacity for sound Judgment. After choosing the right people for the team, leaders must be able to make sound decisions in moments that they are tested. What have you learned from your past mistakes and can you apply those important lessons? Being able to manage conflict and help the team grow from that challenge involves leadership know-how.
  • Create Purpose. Great leaders develop and share a common set of values. Where are you going and which is the most efficient and effective road to travel? I have often heard employees complain that they don’t understand why they are doing certain things. Their leaders do not take the time to explain the purpose of their mission or objectives. In a recent Harvard Business Review article, it was suggested that leaders must always explain, “why” when giving a request as that creates accountability.
  • Be a Teacher and learn from others. More than ever, leadership involves the ability to teach others and be willing to learn from your team members as well. Knowledge flows in all directions and leaders can glean a tremendous amount from others. In turn, an important element of leading is being clear and direct with your information flow to your team. There is no room for secrets, as the omissions can result in a team derailment.

What else would you add to your recipe of successful leadership? Blending and mixing are important too!

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