This month we paused. Paying tribute to the value of courage. Remembrance Day a solemn reflection for those gallant men and women who lost their lives in the line of duty. Soldiers sacrificing all for our freedom.
Fitting then we discuss the very essence of the C word. Impossible, more-so disrespectful to compare soldiers to our every-day comfortable workplaces. Yet should we not draw on the qualities our diggers displayed and continue to display daily to recognise key ingredients required for a progressive workplace. Where phrases such as “equal opportunity” and “open to change” are just expected.
Courage certainly comes in all shapes and sizes. From the dynamic CEO delivering the shareholder vision speech to junior employee speaking up against workplace bullying. It all feels similar. Nerve wracking, scary, even terrifying. Only the individual truly knows the courage required. So often determined by our memories of past experience.
To promote courage from employees, first organisations must agree to welcome this value into their workplace.
It is common for organisations to have values plastered on every internal wall of their offices however staff see and then follow a completely different set of values daily at work. When it comes to organisational values most values are caught rather than taught. Staff will watch the leadership team and create a set of values on how they are being led.
Below are five practical tips that will ensure your employees feel brave more often in your workplace;
1. Embrace Change
Once a business embraces the fact change is a given, new ideas will be free flowing and ensure the organisation remains relevant and competitive. This very mindset of welcoming new suggestions is a vital step in encouraging buy-in from employees. Staff need to feel their opinion counts. Becoming comfortable with the unfamiliar is to be encouraged in the business and creating an environment where the status quo is constantly challenged.
2. Seek Opinions Without Interruption
Businesses often welcome staff opinions however the outcome is a foregone conclusion. Corporate etiquette suggesting everyone’s opinion is valuable yet management continuing to believe strategy only flows downhill. We must open our minds to the possibility that the next best decision for the business may just come from our junior employee. Those very staff that interact with our valued customers daily. Oh, and once they start suggesting their idea please hear them out. No buts.
3. We All Love A Win
Leadership is about service. Not being served. This being the case, can we empower our staff if they never win. To build up the confidence of our teams we must ensure they feel like winners. This may mean the implementation of a suggestion you disagree with or changing a procedure you created. Whatever the case, allow your teams to celebrate wins no matter the size. Confidence builds courage.
4. Healthy Relationships
Building genuine relationships with your employees or teams is crucial to promoting courage. There is no shortcut to creating genuine relationships with your valued employees. Getting to know them personally, recognising their preferences and helping them feel valued all contribute to a safe environment where people really want to share their ideas, feelings and feedback. Trust promotes courage and to create a trusting environment takes genuine relationship. We should welcome their heartfelt beliefs and encourage and welcome passion at work.
5. Do What Is Right
“Leaders are people who do the right thing; managers are people who do things right.” We must encourage people to be themselves at work and be true to their values, what they believe in and what they feel is right. Standing up for what is right often takes a huge amount of courage and often makes an individual feel isolated. Acknowledging our differences however creating a workplace where people feel empowered to do what is right creates a constructive culture.
Seek out those employees who show courage in the workplace and ensure their efforts and bravery is recognised.
Like any behaviour you wish to see more of in your business, firstly demonstrate it, secondly seek it and when you find it place it on a pedestal. Others will quickly see what values your organisation stands firm on.