Boldness and confidence to follow God and/or do the right thing at the right time.


Leading with courage means doing what needs to be done and saying what needs to be said at the right time, to the right person, and in the right manner. People who are bold enough to speak up and/or take a stand for what they believe have leadership courage.

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.Deuteronomy 31:6

Skilled Characteristics

  • Bold

    Doesn’t hold back anything that needs to be said or done

  • Complete

    Provides timely, direct, complete, and ‘actionable’ feedback to others

  • Clear

    Lets people know where one stands

  • Confronts

    Faces up to people problems or situations quickly and directly

  • Strength

    Is not afraid to take negative action when necessary

“Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”

– Peter Drucker

Unskilled Characteristics

  • Scared

    Doesn’t take tough stands with others

  • Holds Back

    Holds back in tough feedback situations

  • Unsure

    Doesn’t know how to communicate a tough position

  • Wavers

    Doesn’t step up to issues, wanting to wait for a later time

  • Intimidated

    Intimidated by others in power

  • Fear

    Afraid to be wrong, get in a win/lose situation, or make a tough personal call

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”

– Ambrose Redmoon

Causes of Weakness

  • Avoids Conflict

    Dislikes conflict – would rather run away than face it

  • Weak

    Does not have the inner strength of character to stand up for what is right

  • Incorrect

    Fear of being wrong

  • Fear

    Fear of losing or failing

  • Emotional

    Gets overly emotional in stressful situations and does not make wise choices

  • Solitary

    Does not like to get involved in other people’s business

“Let us pray not to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless when facing them.”

– Rabindranath Tagore


Review the simple application steps below and choose 1 or 2 things you can do to spur yourself on to further growth.

  • Check Your Data

    CHECK YOUR DATA: It’s best to be right when taking a stand about something or someone. Be careful with hearsay and gossip. Better that you’ve had direct contact with the information. If it doesn’t put anyone else in jeopardy, check it out with other sources. Look at things through multiple perspectives.

  • Face-to-Face

    FACE-TO-FACE: Deliver difficult messages directly to the person who can do the most with it. Consider telling the actual person involved with the problem and give him/her the opportunity to fix it, if possible.

  • Be Clear and Thoughtful

    BE CLEAR AND THOUGHTFUL: If your message is negative and the recipient is likely to know it, go ahead and say it directly. Don’t overwhelm the person/group, even if you have a lot to say. Go from specific to general points. Keep to the facts. Don’t embellish to make your point. Don’t be overly emotional or passionate or use inflammatory language. Don’t speak to harm or out of vengeance. Don’t speak or act in anger.

  • Bring Solutions

    BRING SOLUTIONS: Nobody likes a critic. Everybody appreciates a problem solver. Give people ways to improve; don’t just bring up a problem and leave. Tell others what you think would be better.

  • Timing

    TIMING: Deliver messages in private. Let the person know in advance what you are coming to talk about. Pick the right time, a relaxed setting, with time to spare. Don’t try to address an important conversation while riding in an elevator.

  • Lack Courage?

    LACK COURAGE? Ask yourself—what’s the downside of delivering a message you think is right and will eventually help the ministry or team, but may cause someone short-term pain. What if it turns out you were wrong? Treat any misinterpretations as chances to learn. Ask yourself if you would appreciate it if someone else brought this concern to your attention. Follow your convictions. Follow due process. Step up to the plate and be responsible, win or lose. People will think better of you in the long term.

  • Too Personal

    TOO PERSONAL? Stick to the facts and the consequences for you. Separate the event from the person. It’s OK to be upset with the behavior, less so with the person. Just deliver the message enough so you are sure he/she understood it. Give him/her time to absorb it. Don’t seek instant acceptance.

  • Serious/Drastic Issue?

    SERIOUS/DRASTIC ISSUE? For very serious issues/concerns, you must be prepared to take the issue all the way to senior leaders. If your initial attempt is rejected, covered, denied, hidden or glossed over and you are still convinced of its significance, go up the leadership chain until the issue is dealt with or someone in power two levels or more above the event or person asks you to stop. If you have a mentor, seek his or her counsel along the way.

  • Be Balanced

    BE BALANCED: Don’t get the reputation of always being the bringer of bad news. Try to deliver as much positive information as negative over time. Compliment people on successes, share your resources and experiences with others, help people to achieve positive results. Pick your battles.