5 Marks of Courageous Leaders

April 9, 2010

I came across this great article on what it means to be a courageous leader by Dr. Eugene Habecker. I posted excerpts of the article below, but I encourage you to click here and read the article in its entirety.

“Scripture is filled with exhortations for all of us, leaders or not, to live lives of courage. Certainly any Christ-follower who desires to walk in full obedience to what Christ calls us to be and do—to carry their cross—is called to live courageously.

Organizational leaders who are Christ-followers are nowhere exempt from any of these far-reaching biblical expectations. All of us are called to love courageously, to live courageously, to lead courageously, to follow courageously, and to serve courageously—as his followers. But what does that look like, especially the leading part, in an organizational context? Here are some of the qualities that I believe characterize courageous leaders.

(1) Courageous leaders understand the need to balance stewarding the mission with nurturing and caring for the people who help implement the mission.

(2) Courageous leaders learn how to manage the gap between the strategic and the tactical, and pursue the mission with the past, the present, and the future in mind.

(3) Courageous leaders embrace the complexity of risk and understand the reality of failure in decision-making.

(4) Courageous leaders practice vulnerable trust.

(5) Courageous leaders, particularly in the difficult moments, work hard to ‘absorb the chaos, give back calm, and provide hope.’
Any Christ-follower who desires to walk in full obedience to what Christ calls us to be and do—to carry their cross—is called to live courageously.

Courageous leaders give back calm. They don’t retaliate or escalate difficulty by making things worse. A harsh criticism ought not to yield a harsher response. And authentic emotion that demonstrates clear identification with the difficulty and the people dealing with it can help. Perhaps one meaning of the word meek—power under control—is what I have in mind. This leads to the leader needing to provide hope. Courageous leaders, pastors, and coaches do.”

Are you living and leading as a courageous leader advancing the Kingdom of Christ or do you live in fear? I know that often I do struggle with fear.

What are some other marks of a courageous leader?

BG