I full heartedly agree that we need more Courage in The C-Suite and I second Rosabeth’s call for leadership courage. Lack of courage is an invisible mistake and acts of courage are certainly not absent of fear. Furthermore, lack of failure is also an invisible mistake and success is typically shaped by previous failures. Our most successful leaders are well versed in courage, fear, and failures that ultimately shaped their success.
Yet ironically we shun failure and discourage taking risks. We need much more than a call for leadership courage, we need to re-frame our limiting beliefs about failure and risk and a call for people courage broadly. Nothing is more fertile than acts of courage that are mindful of risk, not rash acts of impulse, acts that make meaningful change possible
Do you encourage your children to take risks? Do you have the courage to let them take risks? Every parent I know wants their children to have the courage to be successful yet few recognize that they are protecting them from success as much as they are protecting them from failure when they attempt to shelter them from making mistakes or dreaming too big.
Similarly most managers punish failure and reward success. I am not suggesting we reward failure but I am suggesting we rethink our biases towards it. If failure occurs in absence of carelessness, the courage to take a mindful risk should not be overlooked; in fact it should be celebrated. Without question, it is my failures that have fostered my growth and shaped my success.
What you don’t do may not hurt you, but it will profoundly inhibit your potential and ultimately your purpose.
“A ship is safe at harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” William Shedd