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The Courage Tool Kit For Leaders

Updated: Jun 5

Nothing speaks to an ongoing opportunity to practice courage like leadership. The truth is, we are all leading something and in addition to competency and skill, courage is required.

It isn’t talked about enough, but leadership can be so scary. Before you know it, a lack of confidence, fear of failure, managing multiple personalities and perspectives, conquering impostor syndrome, handling low performing team members, confronting your own bias, navigating conflict, creating space for team members to be motivated, and decision fatigue are just some of the ways leadership creates difficult.

When things are going well, there is pressure to maintain and exceed expectations, when it’s going poorly, leaders are faced with being solution oriented, often under pressure or what feels like impossible circumstances.

If you are an entrepreneur, these aspects of leadership are magnified and even more intense.

As I think about my leadership journey, it’s been a series of highs and lows, extended learning opportunities and chances to self-reflect. Several years ago, I took a year to really uncover what I really needed to have a sustained path of leadership. I kept coming back to courage.

However, there is a difference between courage and bravery. Have you ever considered the difference?

  • Bravery is the ability to confront pain, danger, or attempts of intimidation without any feeling of fear. It is a state of mind driven by a cause that makes the struggle worth it.

  • Courage: the ability to undertake an overwhelming difficulty task or action despite the eminent and unavoidable presence of fear. It is a state of mind driven by a cause that makes the struggle worth it.

If you are leading anything, the chances of fear, concern, and worry seeping into your mind is inevitable. Both bravery and courage are needed to lead. It’s the differentiating factor in how we can equip ourselves once, conquer the fear and lead well.

It’s important to strategically consider what you may need to put in your “tool kit” when it comes to your own leadership journey.

I am sharing my courage and bravery tool kit for leadership:

The Courage and Bravery Tool Kit

  • It’s difficult to practice courage when you are stressed out. Consider practical ways to manage and navigate the ongoing stress that can surface because of the responsibilities and weight that come along with leading.

  • Maintain a healthy perspective- what is the story you may be telling yourself about your role, work, or performance that simply isn’t true and is steeped in fear?

  • Remain firmly planted in your strengths and own them- you are in a leadership role for a reason- trust yourself and your skills

  • Focus on people first and profits second. This is important because when people are in healthy and thriving work environments, productivity increases and goals are accomplished.

  • Stay rooted in your values, ask yourself:

a. What do I value in myself?

b. What do I stand for?

c. What is important to me?

  • Be comfortable with making mistakes and learning from it leadership is always strengthened when you create expanded learning opportunities as a result of missteps and mistakes

  • Reflect on your progress and accomplishments regularly and honor progress and forward movement, however slow it may feel.

  • It’s easy for people to tell you how you should lead, those are people who usually haven’t led anything themselves- block out the noise of critics.

  • Have the courage to follow. Leadership doesn’t always mean you have to carry the weight of the work alone. Learn to delegate and trust.

  • Admit when you need a break, need to reset, or need to take some time to consider the way forward.

Pamela Benson Owens


CEO- Six Square | CEO- Edge of Your Seat Consulting, Inc. Co-Chair Black Fund |

Host of Rooted Podcast

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