Valor-Fuel

On this week’s LeadershipChat, we’re going to be talking about Valor in Leadership. My co-host, Lisa Petrilli, gives a nice summary of her thoughts on her blog post this week (Three Lost Truths about Valor in Leadership).

For my part, I’m going to narrow the focus down to one aspect that is crucial to the exercise of valorous leadership. It’s what we can call “valor-fuel” – a conviction about what is right, and commitment to do it at all costs.

When we see bold, sacrificial, heroic courage in a leader, we are deeply impressed (think about the movie Braveheart). But what gives a person that sort of backbone? Are they taking valor vitamins with their Cheerios? Is it an inborn trait?

I don’t think so. It’s principled conviction. It’s dedication to a transcendent cause. It’s conscience joining hands with action despite all inner and outer opposition.

And, it’s rare. Look at all of our so-called leaders and ask yourself – where do I see this type of William Wallace-style bravery? Who is demonstrating Eric Liddell-like conviction?

While a certain level of pragmatism is warranted in the navigation of life, the valiant leader knows that commitment to principle is the lighthouse. Even a timid soul can be bold as a lion when driven by a sense of right and wrong. So-called leaders whose moral compasses swing wildly according to the conditions and opinions surrounding them may be able to exercise influence, but they will not be known for valor as leaders.

That title is earned, often at great personal cost, and with a willingness to endure headwinds. The valiant leader doesn’t poll others to find out what is right and wrong. He or she shows others by a commitment to principle.

Valor. May we aspire to nothing less.

Join us on Tuesday nights for #LeadershipChat on Twitter (8 pm ET) – and, to make your chat experience even more enjoyable, try out ChatTagged, a custom-made Twitter client for helping manage your on-line chat interactions!

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About Steve Woodruff
Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

4 Responses to Valor-Fuel

  1. Judy Helfand says:

    Steve,
    Your thoughts are so beautifully stated. I am reminded of a Carl Sandburg quote: “Valor is a gift. Those having it never know for sure if they have it till the test comes. And those having it in one test never know for sure if they will have it when the next test comes.”

    As you say it is a principled conviction, not often seen. Most people would be hard put to offer you a current example. The funny thing about valor is that often hard to recognize in yourself. I think back to the young Staff Sgt. Salvatore “Sal” Giunta who received the Medal of Honor for his acts of valor. I watched him being interviewed and you could tell he was very uncomfortable with his new status and all that it represented today and for the future.

    I look forward to learning more and hearing from others during #leadershipchat.

    Judy

  2. Do the right thing… even when the costs are high.

    Steve, really well said. I also love Judy’s comments and the Sandburg quote. Many thanks.

    Craig

  3. Pingback: April Topics « Leadership Chat

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