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2 minute read - Leadership Career Advice

What If Courage was Contagious?

Sep 21, 2018

TLDR; Lead without leadership authority by assuming that courage is contagious

I suspect most emotions are contagious. Laughter is contagious. Fear is contagious. Courage is contagious.

All of these I’ve used as tactics in my work communication.

I’m pretty sure I covered both Laughter and Fear in Dear Evil Tester, so in this blog post we’ll get serious and look at courage.

Courage is Contagious

This tactic can help you lead when you are not in a leadership position.

This tactic can helps your team grow and embody the behaviours you want to encourage in your environment.

This tactic can help improve communication on projects.

Have the courage to:

  • do what needs to be done
  • step up and do the work you want to see done
  • do the work the way you want to see it done
  • learn what you want your team to learn
  • pair with your team members to learn
  • say the things in meetings that need to be said
  • say “No”
  • say “I don’t know”
  • ask questions that reveal unstated assumptions
  • ask questions that reveal conflicting understanding
  • ask open questions that allow someone to make their point clearly without you being seen to put words in their mouth
  • discuss the way forward

Unfortunately, of the emotion based tactics I mentioned, this was the harder of the three for me to implement. Because at the time I needed to implement it I didn’t have people in visible leadership positions doing the same.

I had to draw on memories of multiple people, from incidents from multiple projects. Fortunately I had seen people I worked with do this in other companies.

Hopefully you’ll have seen people interacting in this way and can take courage from their previous examples. If not, there’s always comics, movies and novels to draw inspiration from.

If courage is contagious. If you start, people will follow.