5 Key Traits of Courageous Leaders

When you think about the idea of courage, what comes to mind?

First, let’s start with the opposite of courage – fear.

If we’re not being intentional about choosing courage, the default is fear.

When we show up from a place of fear, we introduce many undesirable effects:  unwillingness to try new things, apprehensive decision-making, overthinking, second-guessing, overanalyzing, forcing, controlling, and apprehension.

Could you feel the tension building as you read that list?  I sure could.

So if reading that list was stress-inducing, imagine living in that state day in and day out, trying to lead an organization, and oh, enjoying life along the way too.

Now let’s talk about courage.

Leaders who embody courage exude a whole new energy.

They show up with a deep sense of who they are, what they’re about, and trust that they have the wisdom to navigate any situation with values and poise.

When we show up with a commitment to courage, we unlock new possibilities – whether it’s venturing into new markets, opening up our minds to new strategies, exploring a new client base, or incorporating a philanthropic flair.

I sat down and thought about the top 5 traits of a courageous leader, along with some questions to kick-start your courage.  Here’s what I came up with:


Owning up to stuff is hard, but radical accountability is necessary.  Change can only be achieved if we are willing to look in the mirror and realize that we may be the one holding ourselves and the situation back.  

Reflection question:

What is one toxic trait you’d like to work on?


Integrity means doing the right thing even when nobody’s watching.  It involves connecting to a solid set of core values and living your life out through them.  Trust is the foundation of all personal and professional relationships and is built by choosing honesty over convenience.  Honesty with others starts with honesty with ourselves.

Reflection question:

Where am I not being honest with myself?


Challenges and adversity are a fact of life.  There’s simply no avoiding them.  Leaders who are nimble and bounce back in the face of adversity know how to turn pain into triumph.

Reflection question:

What belief keeps me stuck in painful situations?


Putting yourself out there and saying how you really feel may not always be easy, but it’s   necessary in order to build solid, connected, fulfilling relationships with others.  There’s simply no other way there.  Otherwise we keep the walls up and others distanced from us, and never reach the fullness of the relationship.

Reflection question:

What life experiences have shaped the way I feel about being vulnerable?


Ahhhh…my favorite!  Saved the best for last. 🙂

A courageous leader is in touch with who they truly are and has the courage to show up connected to the human side – of themselves and others.  As leaders show up as their true selves, they inspire others to do the same, which ultimately positively shapes company culture and bolsters key company metrics right down to the bottom line.

Reflection question:

What is one small thing you can do this week that brings you joy? (Joy is one of the pathways to your true self)

I’d love to explore these areas with you and give you more personalized ideas for how you can be a more courageous leader.  Let’s chat!