Courage Is The Key To Fearless Leadership

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Wu Feng was a Manchurian diplomat in the 1700s who was posted with an aboriginal tribe in the outskirts of Taiwan.

He befriended the aboriginal chief, whose tribe beheaded one of its members every year as a form of sacrifice. Each year Wu Feng pleaded, with all his compassion and reverence for life, for the chief to put to an end to this custom. The chief would listen respectfully, then summon the chosen tribe member and without hesitation behead him.

Finally, after living with the tribe for 25 years, Wu Feng once more pleaded with the chief to stop the killing. But this time, when the tribe member was called forth, Wu Feng took his place and said, “If you will kill this time, it will be me.”.

The chief stared long into his old friend’s eyes. He could not kill him. And from that day, the practice of beheading stopped.

There are many kinds of leaders and all kinds of leadership, but the leaders we remember the most—the ones who remain unforgettable—are those who lead with courage.

The courageous speak up when no one else will.

The courageous step up and out when no one cares.

The courageous risk when no one else dares.

There is a stubbornness found in courageous leaders. They are not easily frightened and they allow their courage to rise, especially when they feel intimidated.

Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.

Courageous leaders speak their truth. Most people tell us what we want to hear. Courageous leaders speak their mind, never settling for less that what they know to be right. They lead with their integrity and what they know to be true; their honesty lies in telling it to others.

Courageous leaders lead with tenacity. Most people would rather go with the status quo then make waves.At times the truth can be severe and demanding, but courageous leaders stand up for what they believe even if the opinion is unpopular, and encourage others to do the same. Courageous leaders will dare, and dare again, and then dare a little bit more, and go on daring.

Courageous leaders stand apart from the crowd. Most people would rather just be part of the crowd rather than stand alone. Courageous leaders fiercely hunger for what is righteous. They stand apart from the herd and they don’t back down. When a principle is for the good of others, they stand bold and brave.

Being deeply fearless gives us strength, while being deeply courageous gives us character.

Only the real know what is real.

Only the authentic know authenticity.

And only the courageous know courage.

Fear is the panacea for those who lack confidence in their own decisions and their own leadership. It takes courage minus the fear to be who you really are!

Lead From Within: The courageous leader is not one who does not feel afraid, but the one who conquers that fear. Courage is not the absence of fear but the judgment that something else is more important than fear.



N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Bob Brady

    01. Jul, 2014

    What an amazing opening story. Reminds me of what John Maxwell once said – “A great leader’s courage to fulfil his vision comes from passion, not position.”

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      01. Jul, 2014

      Thank you Bob for sharing! A leader with courage has to have a vision of who they are to lead with passion.
      Appreciate your insights.

      Reply to this comment
  2. Terri Klass

    01. Jul, 2014

    Leading with courage is being able to share your honest thoughts regardless of how they will be received. Courage also beckons us to lead with our core values even if they are unpopular.

    I have learned through experience that if we don’t share our real thoughts we can’t be authentic leaders or empower change.

    Thanks for another great post, Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
  3. lollydaskal

    01. Jul, 2014

    Courage is to be an authentic leader. Says Terri Klass.

    Reply to this comment
  4. jane

    01. Jul, 2014

    Courageous leaders Lead Lift Up not Push Down. I like that none of your descriptions open the door for bullying or oppression.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      01. Jul, 2014

      True fearlessness comes from courage and ethics. Bullying comes from a feeling of being unloved. When we are feeling things like unloved, small, and powerless, we try to make an effect through an exaggeration. This exaggeration is known as bullying, an attack, it stems from feeling hurt and slighted.

      Reply to this comment
      • Sanaul Haque

        15. Dec, 2016

        Charismatic Leadership + Dedication + Love Task = High Standard ><

        Reply to this comment
  5. Panteli Tritchew

    01. Jul, 2014

    When someone shows the courage to stand alone with only their own views at their side, with no one in their corner or covering their back, it is awesome and sometime beautiful to behold.
    Thanks for a great post and wonderful opening story!

    Reply to this comment
  6. John R. Meese

    01. Jul, 2014

    Love this Lolly, courage in a leader is so powerful! Those are the leaders we look up to, and those are the leaders who lead by example.

    Reply to this comment
  7. LaRae Quy

    01. Jul, 2014

    Love this sentence: “There is a stubbornness found in courageous leaders. They are not easily frightened and they allow their courage to rise, especially when they feel intimidated.”

    So true!

    Great post, Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
  8. sridhar laxman

    01. Jul, 2014

    Thanks Lolly

    Love this inspiring post!
    Standing up for something that one believes in seems to mysteriously add to our courage quotient.
    It’s a much needed trait at the workplace, may your word spread far and wide.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Stacy Spradling

    02. Jul, 2014

    You have said everything that needs to be said. GREAT POST!

    Reply to this comment
  10. Orlando

    17. Jul, 2014

    Inspiring story! I always wondered why so many Veterans struggle to find work after military service. They posses leadership experience and character traits sought by businesses and few get past HR. Perhaps, two phrases in your post reveal at least one reason for this problem: “only the real know what is real” and “only the courageous know courage”.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Pioneera

    23. Jul, 2014

    Amazing article. It’s so true. Absolutely inspiring as we think about our daily lives/jobs.

    Reply to this comment
  12. francine vale

    23. Jul, 2014

    Love your post! I sincerely hope our leaders are reading it.

    Reply to this comment
  13. francine vale

    23. Jul, 2014

    Love your post, Lolly. Thank you. I hope our leaders are reading it.

    Reply to this comment
  14. Dawood Chishti

    30. Jul, 2014

    “Only the courageous know courage”
    Lolly, an amazing observation you have made.

    Reply to this comment
  15. Richard Sendrovitz

    17. Mar, 2017

    Love what is in the original post. I’m seeking my next nonprofit finance position. As I’m in my mid50s, hope to make it last a couple of decades. I believe I embody courage. I seek an employer who values it and has it ingrained in their companies culture.

    Reply to this comment

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