By Katherine Ryan

The essentials to being a courageous leader that everyone wants to work for

08 Mar 2017

But regardless of demand, businesses must be cautious when recruiting people for leadership positions because they can leave much to be desired.

In the 2016 Leadership at Work Report by Study of Australian Leadership, key findings reveal too many Australian organisations underinvest in leadership and leadership development.

Further, many organisations don’t get the basics right. Meaning leaders and managers are not mastering basic management fundamentals such as performance monitoring, target setting and the appropriate use of incentives. Mastery of these fundamentals is important for improved performance and better employee outcomes.

Become a leader that everyone wants to work for through our professional development workshops.

Leadership is both a complex and sophisticated social role. It’s made up of, in equal parts, intellectual intelligence and emotional intelligence. Our research suggests a leader displaying these two characteristics constitutes the ideal mix of an effective and courageous leader.

What does it mean to be a courageous leader?

By definition; courageousness is bravery and fearlessness, and leadership is the action of leading a group of people. A courageous leader is accountable, reliable, honest, stands by their values and beliefs and their vision and people.

Are leaders born or are they made?

The answer is both, one part born to two parts made - to be precise. There is no argument that some may be predisposed to ‘advantageous’ leadership qualities such as extraversion and assertiveness, and go on to secure leadership positions but effective leadership takes practice, education and experience.

Do you think you are a courageous leader? Or maybe you are about to step into a leadership role and you want to make sure your team truly wants to work for you.

A good question to ask yourself is; what kind of leader would I want to work for?

The essentials of  a courageous team leader are

  1. Lead by example. This means putting in the time and effort your team does.
  2. Establish direction. This is arguably one of the most important things a team leader needs to demonstrate. Establish goals and how you’d like to achieve them. This incites accountability and responsibility in your team members.
  3. Listen. Make time for them, and hear out what they have to say. This lets your team know they are important to you.
  4. Firm but fair. Know when to push your team members and know when to pull them back. This particular characteristic takes trust and doesn’t happen overnight.
  5. Encourage and empower. As the team leader you should know your team’s individual strengths and skills, you should also know how you can utilise each individual to advance the team. Further to that, you should be supportive of their hopes and aspirations, and you should help guide them towards fulfilment.
  6. Trust. If you know your team’s strength and skills, then having trust in them won’t be difficult. Allowing your team to accomplish a goal on their own without you breathing down their neck is a massive compliment to them.
  7. Be honest and transparent. It’s ok to express your weakness and show your team your vulnerabilities. It’s also ok to have an open conversation between you and the team where everyone is comfortable expressing themselves.
  8. Represent your team. No matter what, you are the leader at the helm and you protect, respect and defend your team.

The Leadership at Work Report also shows workplaces that invest in a range of leadership development activities have more capable leaders with a stronger belief in their ability to do the job.

Further, investing in leadership development is positively associated with leadership capabilities and self-efficacy, which in turn significantly betters workplace performance and innovation.

Are you interested in taking a professional workshop in leadership? Have a look at our leadership workshops here.

For more insightful reads, check out our other news items.


Gahan, P., Adamovic, M., Bevitt, A., Harley, B., Healy, J., Olsen, J.E., Theilacker, M. 2016. Leadership at Work: Do Australian leaders have what it takes? Melbourne: Centre for Workplace Leadership, University of Melbourne. Available at:

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