What does courage really mean in the workplace?

Having courage and promoting courage has been an active part of my work life more and more over the last two years. It's in high-demand from our culture transformation clients and it's a key element of Softway's product, Seneca. It seems self-explanatory but the more I've dug in, and reflected on my own courage, I'm noticing that it's really driven by so many factors.

10+ years ago, when I started my first job out of college, having courage to me meant speaking my mind. Voicing my opinion. Getting my ideas into the world and making sure they were heard. I felt underestimated for various reasons and I wanted to prove that I had valuable things to bring to the table.

As leaders, we want to encourage people to speak up, and provide feedback and bring new ideas to the forefront. Having courage to speak up is really important and not something that I take lightly. However, I've learned that there is a lot more to this than simply raising your hand and vocalizing your thoughts.

Courage to me has taken a different form. As I've been embracing servant leadership, courage has become about making time for things that I haven't always prioritized. And having the courage to manage expectations in order to find time to help others. I've learned that courage is also about elevating others, and putting your effort and energy into helping others speak their mind.

Taking a path of servant leadership requires a daily drive to put others before you, and having the courage to put your ego aside. Using your voice and influence to stand behind people, rather than in front. As a leader, courage can simply be about inspiring and motivating others to have courage. Giving others the platform to bring their new and innovative ideas to the tables.

Let's start a discussion about courage. What does it mean to you today? And how have you seen that change over the years?