Because few things foster positive change as effectively as education, a company’s chief learning officer occupies a position with the unique potential to foster change in the workplace. Because courage empowers the kind of change that can make a real difference, this article is written in the format of a job posting. With any luck, you will be compelled to pluck out the courage skills profiled, decide whether you possess them and determine whether you apply them at your organization.
Top-performing company seeks chief learning officer with boatloads of courage. Successful candidate will develop our workforce to embrace the courage skills that we see as crucial to long-term success. Minimal required courage skills are listed below.
- Ability to define courage action skills in the workplace under specific scenarios.
- Talent for identifying and eliminating double standards in the workplace.
- Employee coaching skills to teach/persuade employees to embrace courage learning and leadership qualities.
- Ability to quash stereotypes and instill courage action skills required to develop individual and team courage.
- Proponent of courage and the power of its bottom-line effect.
- Ability to design and develop a thriving courage leadership program.
- Adept at applying courage action skills across genders and job descriptions.
- Recognition of the courage paradoxes that pervade all environments.
If you easily recognize courage in your actions and can say, “I am a profile in courage,” you easily could become our next CLO. A more complete courage description is provided below.
Our new CLO will be able to define courage action skills using specific scenarios. The CLO who joins our company claims courage as his or her birthright. How you identify and claim your individual courage is not important — courage is about discovering your individuality and then being true to yourself. What matters is your receptivity. All employees possess their own innate courage, whether or not they realize it. When we allow courage to surface, we learn to cultivate and nurture it. Candidates who learned courage as a virtue during childhood will demonstrate a distinct advantage in competing for this position. Courage creates the level playing field. Courage is the gift that lifts the organization’s spirit.
The CLO who works with our company will demonstrate the ability to eliminate the everyday hypocrisies that permeate the workplace. In our organization, we view hypocrisies as much a form of corruption as a violation of company policy. Most people only view corporate scandals (or ego battles) as business corruption. Many employees prefer living in denial and selling their souls. We are seeking a CLO who knows bartering your soul makes it harder to reclaim. We seek a CLO who chooses to address the tough double-standard issue, not bury his or her head in the sand or go numb.
The CLO who works with our company will be able to develop our workforce to embrace courage action qualities. We want our culture to promote employees’ development as “courage change agents.” The CLO who joins our company will be a “courage coach” and teach courage leadership as a lifestyle choice. Our new CLO will exhibit the efficiency that courage leadership enables.
The CLO we choose will understand there is a direct correlation between our employees’ “courage quotients” and their “success quotients.” Based on this fundamental understanding, the CLO will stop workplace complacency because complacency kills courage. Situations seldom change by themselves. The CLO will implement courage action skills such as continually facing the truth and promoting high-risk ideas that prompt organizational change.
Our company defines leadership qualities in terms of courage, a quality first defined in Old French “corage,” meaning “heart and spirit.” Based on this original definition, we all can begin to realize our potential as courageous people and more readily transcend ongoing intricacies in our lives. Our organization constantly is motivated to promote this ancient virtue in the broader scope of our work environment.
The CLO who works with our company will quash stereotypes and instill courage action skills to create “team courage.” The courageous CLO easily will recognize the “label trap” that frequently undermines the human spirit at work. Facing habitual stereotypes, our organization acknowledges and honors the personal courageous behaviors in every human spirit so that we move beyond the limitations of typecasting. We think truly courageous people have learned to overcome the business worldï¿½s stereotypes in an effort to lead more fulfilling professional and personal lives.
The CLO who joins our team will understand the courage paradoxes that permeate the workplaceï¿½– the paradoxes that make it difficult to distinguish team courage (e.g. an independent thinker who also remains an active team player or a team player who does not bend under pressure). Team players are “courage change agents.” Our organization is committed to a courage leadership environment that promotes specific courage actions such as making a sacrifice that benefits the team and asking for the tough project no one wants.
The CLO will develop each employee’s personal courage, as well as the collective team courage of our workforce. Naivete is not a plus for this position, and our new CLO will not be thrown off base by the courage paradoxes that hover below the radar during a normal work day. Courage paradox examples:
- If I tell my boss we’ve understated our debt by millions of dollars, I lose my job. If I don’t tell my boss, I might go to jail.
- If the people I manage are empowered with courage, how do I stop them or control them?
Our new CLO will understand the importance of supporting our employees in staying centered in courage when these issues arise.
Working in a courage-conscious environment, we want to witness and experience employees putting a wholehearted effort into the company’s success rather than going through the motions of just doing their job. Our new CLO will foster this environment so that our culture develops a “courage code.” Courage becomes contagious, and soon it becomes the sponsor for improvement.
The CLO who works with our company will value the power of courage and its bottom-line effect. Our organization values the power of courage and its bottom-line effect just as with quality control, risk management or diversity. We work to capture the nuances of the human condition. This is a critical skill for the CLO who joins our company. We think each person in our workforce has the capacity to be a courageous leader, regardless of his or her company position. Why? How you confront workday issues and contribute to your own professional advancement speak volumes about your courage quotient level and set a leadership example others can follow.
Other organizations mistakenly think courage is relevant only during particularly risky times such as transitions, product launches or mergers. We want a CLO who recognizes that exploring new ideas, confronting gossip, transcending rejection and taking initiative are courageous leadership moments. Our new CLO will advance these concepts to help all employees awaken their courage. This type of learning stimulus stirs the impetus to question our motives, goals and purpose for being, and soon there’s a buzz: of “What can I affect in our culture? What step do I need to take to advance my learning curve? Am I selling my soul in the form of complacency?” Our culture will become courageous by being courageous. It’s that simple.
The CLO who works with us will be skilled at designing and developing a thriving courage leadership program. Our new CLO will recognize courage leadership in business also means courageously managing the paradoxes that occur. It is the CLO who guides the organizations’ members to build on their strong points and embrace their “challenge areas,” as well. Size does not matter, and one size of courage does not fit all.
Our organization stops to celebrate individual, team and corporate courage-defining moments demonstrated by our commitment to courage leadership. While none of the above-mentioned examples is a perilous, life-threatening event in the typical sense, they are all common occurrences that challenge people to test their everyday courage. Without this vital virtue, a key part of a person’s spirit is lost.
Our new CLO will recognize how our culture would benefit if all employees claimed their courage. Most ideas about courage lean toward split-second sensationalism that relies on instinct or musclesï¿½– physical courage. What we want in our organization are not larger-than-life employees who possess only the prime personality traits capable of responding in a crisis or an emergency.
We are seeking a CLO adept at recognizing the unique intrinsic values inherent in “everyday people,” the employees who make up the heart of the company. Our organizationï¿½s cultural tenets suggest everyday people display courage constantly and subtly. Split-second heroism and everyday courage are not the same, and courage is much more complex than spontaneous reactions to stressful eventsï¿½– it dwells in the ordinary and everyday choices, not the extraordinary.
We think our employee base can embrace this level of courage understanding and pass it on to others through idea exchanges, mentoring, “managing up” and simple words of encouragement. But do you know how?
Our ultimate goal in defining and understanding courage is to make it a virtue that places value on behaviors other than heroic endeavors. Our new CLO will perpetuate our intent to summon the true meaning of courage (“heart and spirit”) into our professional lives.
Becoming aware of the behaviors and rewards of courage, our employees will become more empowered to discern and better respond to the inherent energy of the virtue of courage. “Virtue” in Latin means “energy,” and our new CLO will understand that hiding courage drains the vital energy from our culture in the form of imaginative thinking, wise decision-making, sound deduction and common vision. This energy is different from sensational actions or spur-of-the-moment energy.
The CLO who contributes at his or her highest level will be astute to recognize the courage paradoxes that pervade all environments. As with all virtues, courage is abstract. Most people will have grown up learning other virtues such as honesty, integrity, humor and maybe even grace. But courage is the forgotten virtue because people do not recognize its significance in their everyday actions.
Our new hire will focus on courage as a state of being such as an individual who makes quiet sacrifices to blaze a trail in support of principles and results that benefit the entire organizational culture. We are looking for subtle guidance from a gifted and talented CLO who will shift the “perspective lens” so that our employees begin not only to understand but to practice the art of being present in courageï¿½– present to our actions, outcomes, values and integrity. Once this courageous state of being is established, everyone finds the innate motivation to step up. (The opposite is dragging our feet.) We might even begin to sense a higher level of courage consciousness, “where courage meets grace.”
Our new CLO will direct this process of developing “courage consciousness” in our workforce. In a sense, this individual will act as our organizational navigator, constantly monitoring and correcting our course, knowing that even a slight deviation in course will lead the organization to the wrong destination, capsizing employees and projects along the way.
If you are on course with this description, you might be our next courageous CLO. Welcome aboardï¿½– you are wanted!
Global speaker Sandra Ford Walston is a human potential consultant who studies courage. She is the author of FACE IT! 12 Courageous Actions that Bring Success at Work and Beyond. Comment below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.Filed under: Leadership Development