The C-Word is a Critical Characteristic of Effective Managers



Much has been written about preferred skills for managers. We always talk in mundane terms for the need of managers to convey a vision, achieve goals and to foster growth and well-being for a work-life balance.

At the least, authoritarian behavior is considered to be passé. So there’s an emphasis on mentoring, teaching, coaching and delegation.

One key is an aptitude and promotion of collaboration. These are helpful in earning respect and inspiring talent to perform.

Another priority is finance and risk management – pursuing opportunities and reducing risks.

Even after being promoted to management, continuous learning is important to stay relevant. That includes every skill from performance appraisals in evaluating talent to planning.

Strong managers are knowledgeable about the big picture – issues facing their companies and industries.

They must be fully cognizant of their organizations’ missions, visions and goals – not only for short-term success but to develop long lasting relationships with the brands’ customers.

C-word

But one quality that’s seldom mentioned is the C-word: Courage.

According to an academic study, there are four salient types of workplace courage:

  1. Standing up to authority.
  2. Uncovering mistakes.
  3. Protecting those in need.
  4. Taking a stance on an unclear problem.

Courage is not necessarily a personality trait. It’s a learned behavior, according to study co-author David Hekman, an assistant professor of management at Colorado University-Boulder.

Entitled “An Inductively-Generated Typology and Process Model of Workplace Courage,” the study’s co-authors included Pauline Schilpzand, assistant professor of management in the College of Business at Oregon State University and Terence Mitchell, professor of management at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.

Responsibility to act?

The study reveals workers who are courageous first ask themselves if they’re responsible to act and will assess the costs to themselves. Despite the costs, courageous people will act.

“Also, courage is very social,” Hekman said Professor Hekman. “You compare yourself with the people around you and ask, ‘Do I identify with the victim, or am I more powerful than the other people?'”

The most-common type of courage: Standing up to authority (67 percent). But 34 percent of the respondents said they had to cope with repercussions.

“Managers might better grasp the significance of our findings by thinking of courageous workplace behaviors as a type of organizational immune response that identifies and corrects power abuses, errors, ambiguity and needs before they metastasize and threaten the system as a whole,” said Professor Mitchell.

A person who shows courage has taken the first step toward leadership.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related management tips:

Management — 5 Frequent Causes of Cost Overruns and Failures – Extensive research shows how and why corporate projects result in cost overruns and failures. The academic study is entitled, ‘Yes Men’ Are Killing Corporate Projects. The research reported rampant misreporting of project statuses at all levels of the companies. The errant information is prompted from cultural predispositions to career aspirations.

Management — 4 Mindsets for Leadership in Performance Reviews – Are you nervous at the thought of giving employee-performance reviews? You’re not alone. Your employees aren’t exactly thrilled, either. Typically, employees aren’t convinced they can get valid feedback. If they’ve experienced poor managers, they likely dread the performance-review process or are skeptical of the outcome.

Risk Management – Making Best Decisions, Using Right Tactics – To prevent a crisis from interfering with the continuity of your business, you must strategically plan to manage any potential risks. That means avoiding the classic mistakes routinely made by companies, and making the right decisions for proactive measures to minimize any dangers.  But how can you best manage risk?

HR Management – 8 Best Practices in Employee Delegation – Avoid frustration in delegation. Save yourself time and develop your staff for the welfare of your organization. Delegation is a fundamental driver of organizational growth. Managers who are effective in delegation show leadership. They know they’ll be more effective in management and that they’ll develop their employees.

13 Management Tips to Solve Employee Absenteeism – Absenteeism causes migraines for a lot of bosses. Obviously, your company will make healthier profits, if you don’t have an absenteeism problem. Check your attendance records. You’ll see Monday is the most-abused day of the week and January is the worst month for absenteeism. For good reason, employers often cringe because they distrust the reasons some employees call in sick.

“Management is all about managing in the short term, while developing the plans for the long term.”

-Jack Welch


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 






Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.