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What does Courageous Leadership look like?

Courageous leadership is a quality to be practiced and nurtured. Brené Brown says:

“Courage is like—it’s a habitus, a habit, a virtue: You get it by courageous acts. It’s like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn courage by couraging.”

Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

There are many benefits to courageous leadership it can help us to have hard conversations, to lead through difficult times and to be ambitious for the future. In turn building stronger relationships within our team and cultivating trust.

Developing courage is an ongoing practice. It’s less about stepping into a difficult situation and trying to be brave, and more about taking daily actions to lead in a courageous way.

3 Key Skills for Courageous Leaders:

There are many different ways that you can practice courage in your life and leadership. We think that these three skills, whilst they might not always be the easiest, are a great place to start.


We often mistake vulnerability with weakness, when we say that something is “vulnerable” it means that it’s weak. But it takes great courage and strength to be vulnerable. When we practice this skill as leaders, showing our weaknesses, our fears, it gives others permission to express theirs. It’s such an underutilized part of leadership and one that helps create teams, build stronger relationships and foster trust and connection.

Design Alliance

This is a key skill for courageous leaders. Creating a Design Alliance is about explicitly communicating how you want relationships to be. This doesn’t mean listing out who’s doing what or which task, but instead speaks to the “How”. How do you want to have conversations? How do you want to deal with conflicts? What’s important to you? These are the kind of questions that will make sure that when there is tension in the relationship you will be able to address it properly.


Boundaries are a way of saying, I can love and respect you whilst loving and respecting me at the same time. Boundaries keep clear our needs and what we want, helping other people do the same. This requires us to be courageous, setting boundaries can be really, really hard, but it’s a skill that is hugely important within relationships of all kinds. If we don't look after ourselves or if we do things where we don't really want to, we become resentful and when we're resentful it creates lots of toxicity between other people and the relationship. Instead by setting boundaries it allows us to fill up our own cup and give from there rather than just giving until we're depleted.

Further Reading and Resources

We hope you’ve found this blog helpful. If you’re looking for more insight subscribe to our newsletter where we send monthly resources and skills for Heart Centered Leaders.

Other resources you might enjoy are:

Dare to lead Podcast & book

Leading With Emotional Courage: How to Have Hard Conversations, Create Accountability, And Inspire Action On Your Most Important Work

Choosing Courage: The Everyday Guide to Being Brave at Work


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