How to Develop More Courage at Work

It’s not a quality possessed by just a few. It’s a skill that can be learned by all.

Courage is not some innate property. It turns out it’s not even something that varies hugely by personality. It’s a choice we make in specific situations to do something that feels risky because it feels worthy. And it’s a choice any of us can make.

The cost of courage is well understood: We’re afraid of the repercussions it may have on our standing or reputation. It can mean risking employment and income. But we’ve come to associate acts of courage with larger-than-life individuals who assume near-heroic status for their boldness and bravery, when in reality just about anyone can muster the courage to act.

In this episode of I Wish They Knew, researcher and author Jim Detert explores the mindset and method of developing greater courage at work. It’s an “inside-out” process that begins with deep personal reflection (values and risk assessment) and shifts towards efficient process management (audience, timing and follow up).

Here’s Jim’s checklist for developing a courage game plan that leads to lasting change and success:

STAGE ONE: Reflection (Things to ask yourself)
  1. Do I have a personal code of conduct?
  2. Is there some duty orientation that moves me to act in certain situations?
  3. Have I established a safety net for myself to mitigate the costs of speaking up?
STAGE TWO: Process (Things to do with others)
  1. Have I established myself a credible voice on this issue?
  2. Have I earned the trust of others so they are willing to join me?
  3. Have a I communicated my intentions with clarity and conviction?
  4. Have I planned follow-up opportunities with supporters and detractors to strengthen commitments or change minds?

Listen to my conversation with Jim Detert for additional insights and strategies on how to do the right thing, at the right time, in the right way.

Leave a Reply