Skip to content

Becoming a Superhero!

If you have ever watched a superhero film (Superman, Spiderman, Batman etc…) you’ll realise that they became superheroes more by accident than design. Also, they had to work at becoming a superhero through trial and error, trying to make sense of what their new found powers (including their limits!) actually meant. In addition, they had to perfect their skills for flying, climbing, diving, fighting and all those other great things they do to save our planet.

Becoming a courageous leader is no different! You may have been born courageous but the chances are that you lost your way whilst growing up. So now is the time for you to not only re-discover your natural courage but also to develop your talent to be more courageous.

Setting yourself the Courage Development Challenge

Let’s accept that you have a strong sense of conviction about what you want to do as a HR Professional. Let’s also assume you are trying your best to put this into practice but are struggling to do it consistently and publicly.
If this is you then we would suggest that your development challenge is fourfold:

  1. Focus on how you can actively find opportunities to test the courage of your convictions – don’t wait to be asked!
  2. Deepen your level of self-awareness from your experiences and act on them – you should be your strongest critic and personal reflection is a tough but cheap way to keep yourself on track to becoming more courageous
  3. Maintain your drive, conviction and balance to remain courageous – being courageous is not about ‘one-offs’, it is about consistency
  4. Expand your support network. To be consistently courageous in a challenging environment cannot be done on your own – you need allies, confidants, mentors and champions both within your organisation and outside.

The cornerstones of developing excellence in Courageous Leadership

To develop and maintain your mastery of Courageous Leadership is all down to the experiences you seek out and the personal insights you have.

Research shows that authentic and courageous leaders consistently do the following:

  • Learn from their life story. This is more than the mere facts of your life – this is about the accompanying narrative which shows what has been important to you, how it has affected and shaped you and attempting to make sense of them
  • Spend time and effort deepening their levels of self-awareness. Denial can be the greatest obstacle that you face in becoming self-aware
  • Leadership principles are values translated into action. You will not know what your true values are until they are tested under pressure: what is most important to you, what are you prepared to sacrifice, what trade-offs are you willing to make? So test your values. For example, a value such as “Concern for others” might be translated into a courageous leadership principle such as “Create a work environment where people are respected for their contributions, enabled to achieve high performance and actively supported to develop their career.”
  • Knows what drives them. To be courageous requires high levels of motivation and to keep your life in balance it is critical you understand what drives you. It is about balancing the motivation to be externally recognised (promotion, financial security, status etc…) against your internal motivators which gives you a sense of meaning.
  • Building your support team. As a leader you cannot succeed on your own. Without strong relationships it is very easy for you to lose your way - they provide you with wise counsel in times of uncertainty, help in difficult times, challenges when you need to steer a different course as well as celebrate successes.
  • Empowering people to lead. This is about you recognising that the key to organisational success is having empowered leaders at all levels. It is about not inspiring those around you to step and lead.

So, which people and experiences have had the greatest impact on you?

  • How much time and how do you develop your self-awareness? When was the last time you were able to say this is the real me?
  • What are your most deeply held values? Where have they come from? How do they inform your actions?
  • What are your prime external motivators? What are your core internal motivators? How do you balance the two?
  • Who supports you? How do you support them? Is your ‘team’ broad enough
  • How consistent are you in your behaviours? If not consistent, what is holding you back?
  • What steps can you take now to develop your courageous leadership?

If this series of blogs on Courageous Leadership has inspired you then we’d love it if you made a personal commitment to become more courageous. Go to and download My Courage to Act.

To find out how CourageousHR can support the development of your HR Function please email [email protected] to arrange a call to discuss your specific development needs.