Nurture Creative Thoughts and Actions
Cultivate Courage Through Confidence
Is innovation lacking in your workplace? If so, the culprit could be a work environment that is squelching courageous behavior in employees. Before an employee can tap into their courage, they must have confidence. It’s almost impossible to have one without the other, but it’s important that you know the difference between the two:
- Confidence = is an opinion you hold about yourself
- Courage = is the ability to act on your convictions and hold onto them in the face of fear of losing something (i.e. your job, respect in the office, career advancement opportunities)
According to Free-Man’s Perspective real confidence and courage come from inside a person. As John Wayne is quoted as saying “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway”. In order to do that, you need to have confidence in who you are and your place in the organization.
Ways Employees Can Obtain Courage
A Washington Post article states that you can implement three important tactics on your quest for courage:
- Control Your Internal Dialog; pay attention to what you are thinking and actively fill your mind with courageous and positive thoughts
- Know the difference between real and imagined fear – real fear is an uncontrolled, knee-jerk reaction (you want to get the heck out of somewhere fast because you fear for your life) and imagined fear often makes us hesitate, rather than instinctively bolt
- Make a plan for obstacles; think through actions/suggestions and be ready and armed with responses to any push back you can foresee
Since courage ultimately comes from a confident person’s ability to overcome their fear, if the work environment discourages this behavior, all the confidence in the world will not spark new ideas and innovation in the workplace.
Remember this: Every good idea started out as a bad idea. So creating a team environment where employees feel comfortable to fully express their concerns, challenges and questions, makes for a courageous setting.
5 Ways to Create Courage at Work
Psychology Today has stated that something is killing curiosity in the American workplace, and often times the one with the smoking gun is the management staff! There are 5 types of subconscious behaviors management uses with their employees, that in turn kicks in fear and deflates courage. However, there are also leadership skills that can be invoked to nip these courage squelches in the bud:
- “Dumb” Question Look; few managers actually say “dumb question”, instead they may roll their eyes, give an exasperated sigh or offer up a snide remark:
SOLUTION: search for what is interesting and ask questions, do not focus on what is wrong with the idea, focus on what makes this idea interesting
- Punishing Failure; curiosity means taking a risk and since innovation is solely associated with risk, therefore being curious equates to risk:
SOLUTION: associate feedback, merit and promotions to actions with both a short-term and long-term goals; do not punish employees for courageous actions, allow a little stumbling room through their short-term goals
- Process is More Important than Results; obsessive about the process of completing work over the end result of completing a job/task (i.e. fill out a spreadsheet about your tasks and report to management instead of focusing on completing the tasks)
SOLUTION: do not micro manage, encourage employees to complete work according to the strategies and tactics that work best for them
- Failing to be Curious Themselves; focusing on being in command, knowing all the answers:
SOLUTION: Collect wisdom at least as often as you share it, listen as much if not more than you talk to your employees
- Cultivating Talent, Not Teams; curiosity starts with questions and can only be asked and answered in group activities;
SOLUTION: lose the myth of the lone, curious creator (i.e Thomas Edison did not test 7,000 substances on his quest to invent the light bulb, he had a team of engineers, physicists and machinists who were sent all of over the world to find new materials and conduct experiments.)
Need Help to Cultivate Courage?
Larry Lipman of Fun Team Building can be your Superman and help create your own. He has worked with teams for over 20 years. His expertise custom team building events can help you cultivate courage in your organization. To learn more or schedule an event, call Larry at 770-333-3303 today!