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There's leadership. And, there's courageous leadership.

As I redesign my message on courage to be RESPONSE ABILITY: A Call for Courageous Leadership, I assert there are some of you who have asked the question, “What the heck is courageous leadership?” This is a very valid question, especially with so many definitions of leadership out there and many of them including some kind of qualifier: ethical leadership, servant leadership, organizational leadership, personal leadership…on and on. So, how is courageous leadership distinct from any general definition of leadership along with any variation of it? 
 
To answer this question, I must first provide my definition and then look at how this stacks up against others. First, to be clear, this is not simply about leadership.  It’s not about simply being courageous.
 
Courageous leadership is standing up, stepping in, and speaking out. That’s it. It’s that simple. Yet, it’s not easy. 
 
I can expand on this by defining...
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The Power of a Parent

From time to time, I get messages from people to let me know of situations where someone did -- or did not -- show courage and intervene in a problem situation. Well, I just got a message from a friend letting me know this:

A mother (this person's sister) was recently at a parent/teacher conference when the teacher shared with her that her son is part of a group of athletes at the school who is known for bullying others. The teacher proceeds to tell the mom that her son does not participate in this behavior. At this time, the mom lets the teacher know that she will be talking to her son about this when she gets home and the teacher replies, "Oh no, I was telling you that as a compliment to your son -- he doesn't participate in the bullying!"

The mother's reply:

He's been taught better -- if he doesn't stop it, he's participating. We teach our kids to treat others as you'd like to be treated and to stand for the oppressed. This is not acceptable in our home!

This is truly the power...

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What really is a hero, anyway?

As we all hear the word "hero" used from time to time, have you ever asked yourself the question, "What is a hero, anyway?" I have asked that question many times. As I inquired into this more, and have spoken to many people about this, others also came up for me:

  • Is a hero someone we simply admire, respect, look up to?
  • Is a hero some kind of "superhero" with "super powers?"
  • Does it take a lot of money and fame to be a hero?
  • When I show courage, does that make me a hero?
  • What's involved in being a hero?
  • Can we call ourselves a hero?
  • Why do we have such a weird relationship to the word "hero?"

You may have asked yourself these same questions. So, let's start now by looking at the concept of "hero" and "heroism."

While there are many interpretations of what a hero is, I have adopted the definition used by the Heroic Imagination Project:

Heroes are people who transform compassion (a personal virtue) into heroic action (a civic virtue). In doing so, they put their best selves forward...

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