Courage – A Critical Management Skill That Can Be Developed with Training – Part 1 of 4 Parts

This is part one of a four part series on Courage as a Critical Management Skill.

What is courage?  And how does it fit with our thoughts on management?  It’s true that there are extraordinary circumstances, whether chosen or thrust upon us, where courage is clearly necessary. Think of the courage of astronauts who willingly travel through 240,000 miles of frozen, airless space to walk on the moon. Or the courage of hundreds of thousands of firefighters who intentionally walk into burning houses.

For the rest of us, life also demands courage, in small and large ways. It can take major courage to walk out of a relationship we know isn’t right for us. It can take courage to ask a tough boss, or even a nice boss, for a raise. Encountering a grizzly in the wild may produce valid physical fear; but why do some of us fear asking the boss for a raise?  Being afraid of emotional wounding, not physical harm, drives that timidity.  Its worth looking at courage and how this key skill can help our management at work.

The importance of practice in developing courage as one of your key management skills

In most cases, courage is the inner strength needed to overcome our fears. But how do we consciously summon up the courage we need when we need it? And how can we grow this key management skill for use in the workplace?

Growing our courage means that we must first be able to acknowledge when a situation triggers an inner fear, and then be willing to shift from one state to another. These steps can be practiced, and just like muscles that need strengthening, the more practice the better.  Since we recognize courage as a critical management skill its worth knowing some practical methods to grow your innate capacity for courage.  It could be that training will be a strategic method of improving your management skill of courage.

Here’s an example. At Bold New Directions, one of our management training programs consists of a two-day training called Powerful Presentations. In this management training program, we have seen thousands of people start off by delivering their benchmark presentations feeling anxious and scared. You can tell by the soft voice projection, the aversion of eye contact, the wandering feet, and the hands that fly about nervously as if they were independent entities.  But by the end of day two, after only 16 hours of practice, 95% of those participating in this management training program, looked and sounded like poised presenters who had had years of experience. Confidence came from their willingness to face their fears (courage) and from the comfort, familiarity and strength they gained through practice, practice, practice!

If you want to develop courage, take a look around your workplace for areas that you are avoiding. Try taking small steps to grow this key management skill so that you can feel and be more successful. 

Adapted from the book Managing From The Inside Out by Jim Hornickel, Director Training & Development, Bold New Directions. For more resources about how to increase your management skills through management training, leadership training, or teambuilding team visit our website at or learn about management training at



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