I have recently read the below-mentioned article on the subject of building workplace courage and it hit home.
Because earlier this year I decided to speak out on LinkedIn about some difficult but very human-centred subjects and quite a few people called me courageous.
I was surprised to hear this because up until that moment, I thought that being courageous meant being fearless.
And that did not feel like me.
This feedback led me to explore the subject of courage further and, as a result of this, I was invited to present my findings at the 'Courage to be yourself' conference that took place back in April in Warsaw.
The main thing that I learned was that to be courageous simply means to be ready to take action in the face of fear, danger or pain.
A workplace can be full of the situations often perceived as dangers that we try to avoid by, for instance, not getting involved.
As the authors of the article wrote: "Sometimes simply doing one’s job well requires courage. [..] “risk” encompasses more than the prospect of financial ruin or getting fired. Humans naturally fear rejection, embarrassment, and all sorts of other social and economic consequences.
Those fears are often stopping us from taking action.
From speaking out.
From leaning in.
From standing out.
They are especially strongly present at the starting point of building your online presence.
I have recently listened to a social media coaching session that one of my colleagues delivered to a C-level executive from a top, global manufacturing brand.
The below quotes are what the executive mentioned that has been stopping him from posting more on LinkedIn:
- "I am quite nervous about damaging my reputation"
- "I am a bit scared of posting something that will be perceived average or salesy"
- "My boss might share the same thing as I do and I am worried I may compete with him"
What my colleague suggested to him was to start with little steps: observe what others share, like other people's content that you find interesting, decide to comment on the interesting content and see what happens before deciding to create your own content and sharing it with the world.
Another suggestion he was given was to start by posting in LinkedIn groups to limit the number of people seeing each post and that way build the courage to do bigger things.
I love that advice - start small, but do start.
Take action, learn, take action again and again and see your confidence grow.
Social media is the perfect place to practice your workplace courage.
And strengthening this ability can be highly rewarding!
As I have seen through my own experience, small acts of courage taken in one area of your life can lead to being more courageous in others.
So if there is one thing I could wish you for the next year, it would be to push yourself to be a little braver.
What would you like to become more courageous about in 2020?
The good news is that the experiences of those I’ve studied show that competently courageous behaviors can be learned. They’re dependent on effort and practice, rather than on some heroic personality trait limited to the few. (So don’t use that as an excuse to let yourself off the hook if you find yourself in a situation that calls for courage!) One piece of advice I give to students and clients: Don’t jump into the deep end right away. Instead, approach this work incrementally by trying smaller, more manageable acts before proceeding to progressively harder ones