Good judge

Good leaders are good judges of the risks involved in making bold moves. They take intelligent gambles based on experience and careful calculation.

by Harvard Business Review
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

The first part of the 'courage calculation' is to assess the kind of risk involved in a particular decision, whether it is achievable and who it is supposed to benefit: the individual or the organisation. The second component is to ask whether the action is necessary.

The nature of the decision will vary from those that have little importance to those that are called 'spear in the sand' decisions, which involve questions of personal morality or values. According to Desmond Tutu, good leaders have an uncanny sense of timing.

They know when to make concessions, when to compromise and when to choose to lose the battle in order to win the war. Courage in business always requires this sense of timing, even 'spear in the sand' situations. It is also important to take time to build the resources and support needed to increase the chances of success.

Courage as a skill
Kathleen K Reardon
Harvard Business Review, January 2007

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