The word “courage” originates from 1250-1300, from the Old French word, “cuer,” which was the word for heart. To be courageous is to do things with heart.
Courage can be revealed through simple acts of self-expression, when conscience overcomes reticence, when we make our presence known by challenging a falsehood that has been advertised as truth, when we name something that conflicts with our values, when we stop to help another, or when, instead of faking competency, we admit we don’t know how to do something.
Courage in the workplace requires an artful mix of vulnerability and toughness. For without vulnerability – openness about mistakes, weaknesses, and what is in the heart of a person – trust, the foundation for high functioning relationships and teams, cannot exist.
Leaders have to model the way. For others to be vulnerable, leaders have to be willing to wear their hearts on their sleeves,
and be willing to have them broken,
and have the courage to show others how to take heart again.
Heart image: oedipusphinx