“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
― Albert Einstein

Have you ever had a major stuff or failing in your life or career. I have had plenty and I completely stuffed this week (basically a big f*ck up!!!). No-one likes making mistakes, failing or stuffing up. I was truly disappointed in myself. I had to call into my inner courage and breathe. Nothing prepares you for challenging situations, crisis or stuffing up. Except Courage.

Nothing prepares you to lead when faced with a crisis and it is times like that these we need great leadership. Like I always say, “Leadership is not just a title or a role, it’s an attitude and a mindset.” What I have seen is a number of people who have been incredible leaders during this crisis who don’t have the title of leader. A lot of people believe that the true leadership capacity of a person is tested during times of crisis. Leadership, courage, and performance under stress can show how level-headed a person is, or on the contrary, it can show where their weaknesses lie. It is important that you always keep your wits about you and stay cool in challenging situations. In turn the importance of emotional intelligence and resilience are critical in times where we need to show great courage. It is also important to be courageous as a leader when mistakes occur.

These are the a few key things that every courageous leader does in times of crisis, and traits you should always keep in mind when running a business:

Courageous Leaders are Honest and Transparent

Courageous Leaders know that the centre pole of Leadership are integrity and honesty. They are honest and transparent regardless of what people might say and think. Personally, I do see a lack of this leadership at present and this fundamental in building trust and safety with those around you. How do you build trust which is EVERYTHING in leadership – lead by example and be honest.

Courageous Leaders Don’t Let Their Emotions Get in the Way

The most important thing to do during a crisis is to maintain an example for your people by keeping cool, calm, and collected, which will allow you to think about the curveballs being thrown your way. This can be challenging and something we coach in a lot. I know when I can feel the pressure impacting me – it is important to ask for help, take a breath or look at the bigger picture. I am also one who embraces vulnerability and at times I am comfortable sharing how I am feeling and where I am at. Remember you are not your emotions.

Courageous Leaders Are Truly Brave and Face Fears

Many people respond to a crisis by being overwhelmed by stress, which turns to fear. It is easy to be afraid when you have a crisis in your life but if you remain brave, then the people around you will be too, and together a strong team will be able to turn anything around. I know when I feel fear that I embrace it and share with my team that we have got this.

Courageous Leaders Are Accountable for Their Victories and Their Losses

Courageous leaders own up to when they make mistakes. After all, we are all human, and someone who is too proud to admit their own mistake is not likely to be someone that others will follow. Taking responsibility for any actions that you have taken that could have contributed to the crisis will be a good way to prompt the people around you into working on the situation with you wholeheartedly, instead of just because they must. Courageous leaders also don’t make excuses!

Courageous Leaders Don’t Take Failures Personally

By separating your personal feelings from the matter at hand, you are better able to focus on what is happening and take care of it in a manner that is going to be most successful for you and those around you. I find that I learn most from when I stuff up and even though it is tough not to take it personally

Courageous Leaders Possess Positive Attitudes from Start to Finish

The end of the crisis is not just when you pull yourself out of the muck that it had put you in. The end of the crisis is those around you have started to recover and are moving on, which might take a bit. Keeping a positive attitude on your face and pushing through any challenges will keep morale high, which will put things right back on track in no time at all and will also earn you the trust and respect from those around you.

In times of crisis, great leaders are needed

When we think about examples of great leaders that truly embody leadership, we immediately think of the Jacinda Ardern’s, the Martin Luther King, the Nelson Mandela’s, the Rosa Parks; the people who wanted to make a difference in the lives of others, while demonstrating kindness, compassion, courage, and other fantastic leadership qualities.

Followers look to see whether a leader is courageous before they’ll fully accept that person’s leadership. If they see courage, it feels safe to ‘sign up.’ People need courageous leaders in order to feel there’s someone to make the tough calls and to take responsibility for them – they need to know that the buck truly does stop with the leader. With a courageous leader, people feel protected – not that they’re helpless, but they know the person in charge really has their back.

Empathy, courage, decisiveness, and the willingness to take action, no matter how hard it may be, are the leadership qualities we all need right now.

Here are some of my other great tips for courageously stuffing up (all I which I did this week) –

  1. Talk about it with others to avoid getting stuck in shame
  2. Learn from it
  3. Brainstorm ways to do it better next time
  4. Take responsibility
  5. Remember that I am not the mistake or stuff up
  6. I am braver and stronger than I think
  7. Forgive myself – stay kind to you!
  8. Recognise you are one strep closer to getting it right
  9. Breathe, regroup and try again
  10. Keep things in perspective
  11. Say sorry
  12. Be honest with yourself and others

Learn to embrace the suck around stuffing up and you will start to love it when it happens. Give it time and courage.

You can read more at First Comes Courage via my website, Booktopia and Amazon.

Now onto trying and stuffing up again and again and then succeeding….!

Learn more about our programs, speaking and work on courage and leadership –

LeadershipHQ and Sonia McDonald x