The Qualities of Every Courageous Leader

February 9, 2023


Overview: Courage is an essential leadership trait that enables other important leadership competencies. Courageous leadership comprises honest, frequent, and clear communication coupled with a willingness to encourage constructive dissent. Courageous leaders are authentic and resilient. They embrace change and conjure bold future visions and worthy goals for their organizations.

Courage is the quality that makes leadership possible. By definition, leaders are trailblazers. They spearhead efforts by being the first to go. They assume risks, exposing themselves to dangers and possible failures.

Leaders live outside their comfort zones, constantly exploring new opportunities and embracing change to build better futures. Intelligent leaders constantly flirt with the future, inspiring others to join them in working towards worthy visions.

Great leaders have the temerity to show vulnerability. They know that by being vulnerable, they’re more genuine, trustworthy, and relatable from the perspectives of employees.

Leadership coaching understands the role of courage in leadership success. Executive coaching professionals can help leaders build up the competencies that allow them to develop bold, forward-looking behaviors that inspire and empower.

What do courageous leaders do differently? How does courage shape leadership behaviors?

Authenticity and Humility

Authentic leadership is one of the top predictors of employee satisfaction and performance.

Authentic leaders know and acknowledge they’re not all-knowing entities and the indisputable sources of all solutions. When they don’t know something, they’re not afraid or reluctant to reach out for help. They show interest in self-improvement that rubs off on employees, creating organizational cultures that value leadership coaching.

Humble leaders can improve through executive coaching. Even if executive coaching professionals don’t work with every employee, the benefits of the coaching they provide can trickle through the organizational ranks. Courageous leadership is in high demand, and leadership coaching can help leaders discover its tenets and benefits.

Honesty and Openness

Without honesty, there’s no trust. Dishonest leaders create toxic organizational cultures that lead to increased employee turnover and reduced performance. Honesty begins with having open conversations that genuinely value input from all concerned parties.

Effective conflict management always involves awkward conversations, and leaders cannot shy away from saying what must be said. Voicing unpopular opinions is uncomfortable and requires courage.

Courageous leadership goes a step further and encourages constructive dissent and debate. Courageous leaders don’t fear facing dissenting opinions. They know healthy debate is the source of the best solutions. By encouraging constructive debate, courageous leadership empowers and engages employees who see their input matters and their contributions are real.


Resilience is one of the core qualities of mature, intelligent, courageous leaders. Such leaders understand leadership is not gambling or a sports contest. Taking a loss today in the form of a failure is never final and may entail useful lessons.

Lighthouse with giant waves.
Resilience is a mark of mature leadership. 

Successful leaders are those who try and fail often, yet keep going. In addition to a mature mindset, this attitude requires courage as well.

Executive coaching advises leaders to build their resilience by creating reservoirs of personal or vicarious leadership references they can use for inspiration when faced with challenges and setbacks.

Communicating Clearly and Taking Action

Courageous leaders make things happen. They communicate often and clearly, ensuring people under their leadership know what they have to do, how they have to do it, and what organizations expect of them.

Intelligent, courageous leaders avoid jargon, don’t withhold data, and aren’t afraid to ask for help when they don’t know something. When facing performance issues, they swing into action and address problems directly.

Courageous leaders don’t avoid confrontation with toxic employees like so many others do. They weed out problems before they become toxic and exact steep prices on organizations.

Leading Change

Embracing change requires leaders to leave their comfort zones. Courageous leaders aren’t afraid to act as agents of change in their organizations. They envision better futures and take steps they deem necessary to guide organizations toward them.

Not every leader is naturally courageous. Leadership coaching can help leaders understand the triggers and mechanics of leadership courage and develop behaviors consistent with it.

Contact us to learn more about how you can join the IL Movement as a coach or how you can benefit from partnering with us to bring IL Solutions to you and your organization.

back to “news”