One of the frustrating experiences on my journey as a trail blazer in everyday courage andeveryday rudeness courageous leadership is that it’s so simple. Unfortunately, simplicity and leading a simple life are not deemed valuable assets. For example, civility is rarely witnessed. Just recently there was an article in The Denver Post sharing how the French were finally getting tired of being rude and being defined as a rude culture. Wow! When there’s a collective shift in consciousness and a declaration to change, courage actions are set in motion. In this case, research found that the French experienced a higher level of stress attached to their rudeness—what a concept!

In the United States, we have witnessed a rise in bullying, not only in the schools but in the workplace. What can be done? What might be some courage backing examples and what would be some courage busters? Take a minute to check the ones that apply to you, your team or your organization.

Courage Backers—Ways Leaders Construct Courage

•  Being an advocate for continued learning

•  Admitting mistakes (holding oneself 100% accountable)

•  Listening for intent

•  Keeping promises and stating them clearly (applying sophisticated linguistic skills)

•  Asking a lot of “you questions” versus “I” statements

•  Revealing vulnerability such as admitting when you don’t know anything about the topic

•  Demonstrating positive actions (saying, “Why not!”) versus being a naysayer

•  Seeking feedback

•  Sustaining rapport with employees at all levels (equal playing field)

•  Implementing collaboration (versus consensus)

•  Eliminating courage killers such as conformity and complacency

•  Reflecting before responding (rediscover silence)


Courage Busters—Ways Leaders Corrode Courage

•  Favoritism versus treating people equally

•  Focused on their own advancement/posturing

•  Afraid to take risks such as asking for the tough project no one wants

•  Disengaged from staff members

•  Not keeping people informed (hoarding data)

•  Unhealthy ego that bullies, both overt and covert such as “them versus us”

•  Lack of transparent communication

•  Not organized (more reactive—“last person in wins”)

•  Unable to be reflective before responding (“I am so busy” mantra)

•  Incapable to admit errors and take responsibility

•  Minimal insight to understand the human condition based on personality tools

•  Unable to acknowledge a problem exists (denial—denial is saying “no” to courage)

•  Powerless to respond to “first red flags”

•  Perpetuates a culture of corruption: “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”

You cannot learn courage by doing something you already know!

Sandra Ford Walston is known as The Courage Expert and innovator of StuckThinking™. Featured on the speaker circuit as witty, provocative, concrete and insightful, she has sparked positive change in the lives of thousands of leaders each year. She found that there is a direct correlation between your success quotient and your courage quotient.


She is the internationally published author of bestseller COURAGEThe Heart and Spirit of Every Woman, the follow-up book to COURAGE,The COURAGE Difference at Work: A Unique Success Guide for Women (formerlySTUCK) and FACE IT! 12 Courageous Actions Bring Success at Work and Beyond. All three books are on based 20 years of original courage research. She is certified in the Enneagram and MBTI® and she is a Newfield Network coach. Please


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