The Courage of One’s Convictions

A resilient workgroup has a bias towards action. When things get though, the group responds. They have laid the groundwork, in anticipation of tough times, to assure that they can act when called upon.

The previous posts considered two qualities that lend themselves towards action: a love of closure and a sense of agency.

• A love of closure means that an incomplete state of thing prompts action. It simply is not comfortable to leave things undone.

• A sense of agency means that members of the group feel responsible to act and capable of acting. They need not wait for someone else to take charge.

• Courage of one’s convictions, the third quality, means a willingness to take on the risks inherent in taking action.

An ongoing theme in worklife is managing risks. People put a lot on the line in the course of day-to-day work. Their jobs support their standard of living, their standing in their communities, and their sense of competence. Taking risks with one’s career is not something to take lightly. A work environment can discourage action by increasing the risk or it can encourage action by helping individuals to manage the risks inherent in taking action.

A resilient workgroup encourages people to have the courage of their convictions in at least two ways. First it values action. Leaders acknowledge and support team members when they take a stand on a core principle. The group essentially values people who take a stand on values.

Secondly, members of resilient workgroups have practice in confronting challenges. In their pursuit of high quality performance, they have stretched the boundaries of established practice to truly innovate. Rather than working entirely within the bounds of fixed protocols, they have given serious reflection to finding ways of improving best practices.

People are not born with courage but develop it through experience. They take risks but do so within a context that values the benefits the come from trying something new. They do not simply have the confidence that they can address major challenges, but a lived history of addressing challenges.

A workgroup environment makes a difference. The most effective way to develop workgroup resiliency comes through a bias towards action. Developing that quality in members is a fundamental leadership challenge.

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