Courageous Leadership

Courageous Leadership
Jillian Bateman — December 7, 2020

“Leadership is not for cowards,” as Leadership Coach Mike Staver reminds or perhaps tells ESA Leadership Summit attendees for the first time, expressing it takes courage to not waiver from hard-set beliefs and to persuade followers to understand that these beliefs truly matter. Influencing followers is the key to creating significant results as a leader, which takes unshakable courage. 


Talking Behind Leaders’ Backs 

According to Staver, followers are consistently and constantly doing one thing – talking about leaders behind their back and it’s through this dialog a leader’s “followability” is determined.  

Leaders must become clean on what makes them followable, else followers will also be unclear and perhaps confused. To determine followability, Staver suggests writing three words most people use when they talk about you behind your back. “If you have no idea what those words may be,” says Staver, “that’s the most terrifying thing of all … not knowing.”  

Another exercise to help leaders identify behind-the-back speak is to go directly to their team. Staver recommends distributing a 3×5 card and asking your team to write down three words that describe what it’s like to follow you. Google the phrase “free word cloud generator” and then enter the words created by your team. This creates a word cloud, in which Staver encourages printing and displaying in a location seen daily. Reflect often by asking yourself: “Are the words your team wrote what you thought they’d write and do those words make you proud?”  

If not, do something about it. After all, doing different things requires expansion of thinking and encourages a forward focus which helps advance your business. 



Comfort and Energy 

Staver says people have been programmed to be comfortable and it all starts in the brain. If the brain determines the situation is uncomfortable, people tend to avoid that situation, opting for and moving toward comfort.  

With leadership, though, being in a state of comfort creates stagnancy; it is important to move into being a little uncomfortable to experience growth.  

Energy is your most valuable resource and helps make the move toward “uncomfortable a bit more bearable. “If you’re going to lead courageously, you have to create a space where you manage your energy in an effective way,” says Staver. To do so, ask yourself: Is this activity/situation worth it? If yes, energy is gained; if not, it is lost. Choose to invest your energy as a leader in activities for your business that produce a good return on that investment.  


Energy is your most valuable resource and helps make the move toward “uncomfortable a bit more bearable.


Become a Courageous Leader 

Staver presents the six things you can do to become a bold, daring leader with the acronym A.T.T.A.C.K.: 

Accept your circumstance as they are and be grounded in truth and reality.  

Take responsibility to create a culture of people who also take responsibility.  

Take immediate, decisive action to move forward.  

Acknowledge any and all progress, even the small and incremental. 

Commit to gratitude daily. 

Kindle new relationships.  


Staver says that following these tips and suggestions helps leaders to create harmonious outcomes in the midst of crazy times and calm times.”