Career Trends: 5 Tips to Start Leading with Emotional Courage

4 min read

Edition: November 12th, 2021
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS

Emotionally courageous leaders are compassionate, accessible, humble and open to new ideas. They help their teammates realise their full potential.  (Image Credit: Shutterstock)
  • Excerpts from article by Steve Taplin, published on

When you are compassionate, accessible, humble and open to new ideas, your employees won’t see you as an uncaring authority figure who demands obedience.

Acknowledging your own emotions and the emotions of others is the first step towards Emotionally Courageous Leadership – which is the need of the hour in today’s turbulent times.

Commitment to leading with emotional courage is the next step. There is no set routine for it, but there are steps you can take to improve yourself. Remember that this is a journey, not a destination. 

Here are the steps you can take to lead with emotional courage:

1. Embrace your vulnerabilities and be compassionate.

  • Leaders may get tempted to hide their emotions from team members or those working on their business.
  • Authentic leadership requires openness and accessibility. Share your problems with others and ask for help when you need it.
  • Employees and team members will see you as a human being, not an authority figure above questioning. 
  • Seek to influence, never to impose your authority on others.
  • Stop focusing on your ego. Instead, try to be a positive and supportive leader.
  • When you are the bridge that links your employees together, you will have a more effective team.

2. Be humble. Accept your imperfections.

  • Humility is often overlooked, but it may be the most critical aspect of emotional courage and leadership.
  • Accept that you are human and flawed. You have limits.
  • You will not always get things right or always have the answer to problems.
  • Humility is not about having a low opinion of yourself or your abilities. Instead, it is about accepting your imperfections, and in so doing, working to improve yourself. 
  • When you are humble, you listen to understand. You are willing to accept different opinions and criticism. You give credit where it is due.
  • As a leader, you will inspire confidence and admiration in your employees.
  • Instead of looking inwards and massaging your ego, be humble and redirect those energies towards the growth of your business.

3. Welcome feedback both positive and negative.

  • Accepting criticism is essential to any career field.
  • Nobody wants to have their work or style criticised. However, without criticism, you won’t produce a quality product, nor will you improve yourself.
  • Without complaint, you won’t know where to improve or what to work on. What to keep and what to dispose of.
  • When you are a leader, you must be willing to accept criticism from employees and teammates.
  • It is a regular part of the job, and you should not make others feel like you are above it.

4. Never lose your sense of wonder.

  • From Steve Jobs to Bill Gates, all the great pioneers have always maintained a sense of wonder and curiosity. They soldiered on when others would have given up.
  • A tireless thirst for knowledge and innovation will always keep you charged.
  • Approaching new challenging ideas head-on can be scary. Novel ideas often are. But that is what it means to lead with emotional courage. It’s about taking leaps of faith.
  • Research suggests that curious people tend to have better, stronger relationships, too.

5. Get the best out of your team with care and understanding.

  • When you react impulsively to your emotions, you do not respond appropriately to criticism or dissenting opinions. This is true for both your professional and personal life.
  • Interpersonal skills and good communication are the cornerstones of a healthy working relationship. As a leader, you must work on this aspect at all times.
  • When you are compassionate, accessible, humble and open to new ideas, your employees will reciprocate these feelings. It sets the tone for your business.
  • Employees know they can approach you with questions, concerns, or even personal issues. 

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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