Brave Leadership

post from Darrin Murriner:

Most people would agree that good
leaders are brave leaders. But our definition of brave may vary widely. For
some bravery could mean facing a tough personnel decision or making investment
decisions to enter a new market.

And while those decisions can often
be brave, I contend that the highest form of bravery in an organizational
context is keeping at bay the opposite of bravery; fear.

In our business organizations fear
has a growing influence. This can be seen in our capital allocation decisions,
how we react to competitors and how engaged our employees are in the mission of
the organization that you are leading.

To be a truly great leader you must
tackle the three primary areas that fear can influence your organization and
prevent your business from realizing increased returns and long-term value

 1. The
Cultural Core
. I represent this strong cultural core through several key
elements including the development of trust, breaking through organizational
hierarchies, being willing to take risks or even fail, finding employees that
are the right cultural fit and supporting their individuality, and finally, by
developing great communication. Building a strong core lays the foundation for
the next two areas.

2. External
It is important to avoid the pull to react to the competition,
regulation and risk & control functions, but rather, focus on getting out
in front of these three areas. This requires staying close to the customer and
anticipating where the market is going. You can limit the influence these
factors have by leaning into the cultural core.

3. Improve
Decision Making.
Good decision making from a place of strength in your
organizational identity keeps you from getting distracted by concerns around
possible legal land mines or the possibility of negative media exposure. Good
decision making allows the brave leader to go from good to great.

I would love to go into each of
these areas in more detail, but this is a blog post and I spent eleven chapters
on these in my book, Corporate Bravery.

But the reason why these factors
matter is because fear has a way of creeping into your culture little by little
through small decisions that are made every day by managers with influence
within your organization.

That may seem overwhelming since
leaders often struggle with the balance between micromanaging the details and
supporting and empowering their managers towards improved performance. But it
is achievable, and it starts with great leadership.

For that reason, the selection
process for managers must be rigorous and ensure the full alignment of
organizational values, management competencies and performance management to
protect the cultural core from trending negatively over time.

Too often leaders are derailed by
fears that influence their decisions and create cracks for fear to root itself
in the cultural fabric of their organization. It can start out small but will
eventually have an outsized influence on every area of business performance.
Great leadership values bravery over fear and fights to protect culture from
fear’s polluting influence.


About the author:

To learn more about Darrin
or this topic you can read more at If you are interested in reading Corporate Bravery, the book is available
on Amazon (
& iTunes.