Building Spirited Business Teams Part 3 – Demonstrating Courage

Demonstrate Courage in Words and Action.

In the first two articles of this series of seven, I put forward a proposition that there are two types of business teams.  Teams with spirit and teams without spirit.  Business teams with spirit are winners.  Teams without spirit are losers. The previous two articles each addressed one of the seven characteristics of business teams with spirit:

  • Having an Inspiring  Shared Vision
  • Thinking  and Acting as a Team

In today’s article we will talk about the 3rd characteristic of spirited business teams which is that such teams are winners because they demonstrate courage in words and action.   Courage is an interesting concept.   Have you ever wondered where true courage comes from?   And why some people find it so easy to do and say courageous things and others do not?   Well, here’s my take on courage.   We all have two selves – an ego self, which is our social self, and is all bluff and bluster.  The ego self does not have true courage.  This ego self will do and say things that are defensive and self-protective because our ego is driven by feelings of insecurity.

Spirited Self

Then there is our spirited self which is our real self.   Our spirited real self will do and say courageous things because it is driven by feelings of self- confidence and self-belief.   So what this means is that when you are just being the real you, you will automatically behave with courage.   We only lack courage when our ego is trying to be someone we are not, trying to please others, trying to be the person others want us to be.

The fascinating thing is that, given a choice, we would all prefer to be our real self.  We crave the freedom to do and say the things that we truly believe in,  to speak about the ideas we have, share our perspectives  and express our feelings and opinions  because there is nothing more empowering than just being who we are.  It is the ultimate form of self esteem and self expression.  So why do so many of us in the corporate environment not do this?  Why do so many business teams and individuals defensively flee to their egos for protection?   Mostly because, in so many companies, ego-driven leaders or managers have created a culture where employees consider it unsafe to be open and honest.  They feel safer hiding their true talent and insights than courageously speaking out or doing something different.

Business Teams With Spirit

Business teams with spirit are different.   These teams purposefully foster and cultivate courage.  They are not prepared to ‘speak out of both sides of their mouth.’  They see lip service as being a coward’s way out.  They tell it like they see it and handle the consequences.   And they do this in a manner that demonstrates genuine mutual trust and respect.   And as a result they are able to negotiate the best deals, come to the best solutions and deliver the best results.

How do spirited business teams foster courage?

  • Their first act of courage is to speak openly about ‘courage’ in their team.  They actually set aside time to talk about the issue of courage.  They team makes the conscious choice to do and say courageous things instead of resorting to pretense and lip service.  
  • They write being courageous and real into their Team Charter.
  • They derive courage from their vision.  They continuously speak about their vision to each other, to the point where they are obsessed with their shared vision of greatness.
  •  The intense desire to achieve this dream gives them the courage to do everything in their power to achieve this.  (see first article on vision)
  • They create strong relationships and genuine connections with their team members by being genuine and real.   They know that their team members are true partners. Knowing that their team mates ‘have their back’ and will never throw them under the bus, gives them great courage.
  • They attend self development programs, or hire a life coach to continuously strengthen their spirited self and enhance their self-confidence.
  • They never allow the elephant in the room to remain unaddressed.
  • They only take decisions that are based on diverse opinions and perspectives.
  • They challenge any member of the team who appears to have a hidden agenda or is behaving in self-serving way

Look for the fourth article in this series:  Building Winning Business Teams:  By Using 1+1= Out-the-Box Thinking

Invite Sandy to do her seriously-funny keynote: How to Build Unstoppable Business Teams


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