Courage and Humility: A Balancing Act of Leadership (Part 1)

April 28, 2009 -- Sal Silvester

Leaders are called upon to do many things, and those things often conflict with each other. They require a unique balance of sometimes opposing characteristics.

The first set of characteristics that I believe is required to be a successful leader is the balance of courage and humility.

As a word, courage means boldness or braveness. In reference to leadership, courage means having the boldness and braveness to do the right things – especially when the right things are hard to do. It takes courage to give people direct feedback. It takes courage to have difficult discussions about performance. It takes courage to lead people through change, to deal with conflict head-on (instead of letting it simmer beneath the surface), and to share an opposing view point during a meeting where everyone else is thinking alike.

On the flip side, successful leaders must also present humility. Humility as a word means a lack of vanity or self-importance. In reference to leadership, it means setting aside individual egos and agendas to push problem solving lower into the organization, to give up control and decision making, and to stop micromanaging and empower people to do their jobs.

How do you balance courage and humility in your leadership roles?

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