The Third Step to Transformational Leadership

[This is the 3rd post of a 3-part series on the steps to becoming a transformational leader.]

So far in this series, we’ve learned that leadership transformation is built upon the character and lived through competence. Although strong character combined with strong competence is a powerful combination, it is not enough to be a truly transformational leader. Without taking the next step, reaching your leadership potential will be at best sporadic and most likely wasted.

Unfortunately, I’ve too often worked under or watched leaders with both strong character and competence come up drastically short in the very situations where strong leadership was crucial to success.

Here is the third step to becoming a transformational leader.

The Third Step to Transformational Leadership

The third step to transformational leadership is courage.

If the virtue of character is the heart of a transformational leader, and the virtue of competence is her hands, the virtue of courage is her backbone!

Courage is defined as the willingness to act upon your convictions. Convictions, as defined by a leader’s character, are the soul-deep belief and values upon which a leader will not bend or break. Courage is the leader’s moral line-in-the-sand, a line she will no cross…that is, if she grows courage.

Transformational leaders realize that courage does not mean being without fear. Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather, the realization that something the leader holds dear is more important than the potential consequences of not acting.

As Hollywood legend, John Wayne, once said, “Courage is being scared to death, but your saddle up anyway.”

3 Components of Transformational Leadership Courage

The three essential elements of leadership courage are confidence, composure, and boldness.

  1. Confidence is a positive belief in your own abilities. This belief stems from step two, competence. Competence, therefore, leads to confidence!
  2. Composure is possessing calmness regardless of your surroundings. With strong character and competence, and the growing confidence in your ability to handle tough situations, your composure grows.
  3. Boldness is the readiness to take risks. With a foundation of character and competence combined with confidence and composure, you are now poised to take the bold (courageous) actions transformational leaders must take regardless of the situation.

Transformational leadership is therefore built upon character, lived through competence, and tested through courage.