What has Julian Assange, Liu Xiaobo, Erin Brockovich and Mahatma Gandhi got in common? The founder of Wikileaks, the Chinese dissident, the consumer advocate and the peace activist have all put their reputations and lives on the line for something they believe in.
Speaking out, having a voice and making a difference are all aspects of what it means to be courageous and yet how many employees, managers and leaders ever feel they should be courageous at work? Why is it that the corporate world has so few courageous heroes? Could it be that most employees want to just survive, keep their job and leave their heroism for home?
Courage is not always about headline heroism, more often or not it is unseen by others. However, when courage is encouraged then those individual and personal acts will collectively inform and shape an organization’s culture, values and working practices.
CourageousWorkplaces suggest that those organizations which encourage individuals to be more courageous – basically to pursue the greater organizational good by doing ‘the right thing’ rather than what is expected of them – benefit from higher levels of employee engagement, increased productivity, greater innovativeness, higher levels of flexibility as well becoming a more attractive employer.
Whilst not every courageous act will attract public accolades, notoriety or acclaim they are nevertheless the fertile seedbed from which courageous workplaces will emerge. Now is the time to invest in planting and nurturing those courageous seeds as they take time to flourish and the business marketplace is not getting any easier.