Moral Courage

If you have been following my blog trail, you remember that I believe three leadership traits reign supreme in our best leaders: competence, moral courage, and character. I discussed in earlier posts competence, and how you can think about it when gauging whether you, or anyone else, are ready for the next job, or the next step in life. In my next series of posts, I want to dive deeper into courage, especially the kind of courage I am talking about: how is it different than bravery, how do you develop it, and how to reward this kind of behavior in others.

As I write in Marathon War, bravery is tactical- the willingness to put one’s own life at risk for another, be it on the battlefield, a house fire, a policeman stopping an armed robbery. We see it in combat and on the streets of our cities as well as in many, many professions beyond the military.

Courage – moral courage – is the willingness to mortgage one’s future, and their family’s future, on an idea. On the battlefield, it is often for the betterment of those we lead. Standing firm in one’s beliefs is a form of moral courage, as is the willingness to “bet your bars or stars” in a complex and sometimes morally unclear situation. Like bravery, it is found in the military but also a wide range of professions and jobs. More on all this in my next post!

“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare.” Mark Twain

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