Managerial Courage

This is a term I ran across recently and I really like it. It is a leadership trait. Without it a practice will suffer with teamwork issues or general malaise. Without teamwork and high positive energy, practices produce less.

Let’s look at the characteristics present when you do not have managerial courage.
• Unwilling to take a strong stand when one is required
• Reluctant to deal with difficult issues regarding teamwork
• Can’t give tough feedback, and would prefer someone else do it
• Wants to believe if you ignore the bad behavior, it will go away
• Meetings are few and far between and conflict is avoided
• Allows others to take the lead with the hope that they will not be challenged
• Believes they are suffering because of the stupidity of others
• Blames themselves and decides “it’s all my fault, if only I were a better leader”

Does this sound like anyone you know?

Managerial courage is what you need to get you through the day with integrity and honesty. Unfortunately, we have heard too many stories about how doctors hid out in their offices in turtle mode, and stopped talking when they should have started. We believe you can be reflexive in your thinking about a teamwork frustration or reflective. If you are hostile, indignant, resentful, depressed, or feeling hopeless, you are reacting to the situation in a reflexive, or people focused, way. We suggest focusing on determining the reason for the behavior of the others, be curious, be concerned. Open a dialog and search for a solution. Managerial courage looks for solutions not destruction.

Here are some steps you can take the next time you need managerial courage:
• Express your appreciation for the relationship you have. You would not waste the time talking about it if you did not value the team member in some way. This is not appreciating the tasks they do as part of their job description. It sounds something like: “We work closely together, our relationship is important to me and I know honesty and trust is vital to both of us, that’s why I thought it was important to have this talk.”
• State facts not your interpretation or assumption about the behavior. “I noticed … or I saw…”
• Ask the person for help in understanding their behavior
• Move to the future (sometimes people get stuck endlessly talking about the behavior) and state what you would like to see differently.
• Negotiate to solve the problem or state the consequences.

Since some conflicts and frustrations may have “gotten your goat”, make sure you are in the right frame of mind to have this discussion. While not all behavior is innocent, many conflicts are caused by misunderstandings or problems with systems, roles, or inadequate information. The lack of skill, insight, or courage can all be resolved. An exercise to do to get yourself in the right frame of mind is to finish the following phrase 3 times: “Well at least it is not …”

Work on your managerial courage for the betterment of your practice and for the betterment of your home life. When issues are not resolved they go home with you. We believe your family and your outside personal life deserve unencumbered time. What is the first step you could take to improve your managerial courage?