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“People don’t follow titles, they follow courage.”
~ William Brown
When you think of the three levels of courage; physical, moral, and divine, you can understand how this quote fits. People may achieve leadership positions by physical courage. Those are your intimidating bosses that use their titles to control you with ‘carrot and stick’ motivation philosophies. How often do these “leaders” keep those positions, hopefully not long, unless they can intimidate their boss?
Leaders with moral courage may not even be the boss, but the person the boss despises. They’re the ones that try to help the boss see their point of view when it benefits everyone, not just them. If they start to use their position to benefit themselves they slip back down to physical courage. Moral courage focuses on what’s best for the many, not yourself.
That’s why people follow morally courageous leaders. They know they have their best interests in mind. They go first and are the soldiers who lead the charge or the whistle blower employee who reports their company for unethical or illegal activities.
Leaders who have had the biggest impact on the world have reached divine courage as discussed by James Allen;
“The physically courageous man conquers another in a fight; the morally courageous man conquers the opinions of many men, and wins thousands to his cause; but the divinely courageous man conquers the world, and his conquest is one of blessedness and peace, and not of bloodshed or party strife.”
There are not many who have changed the world and it’s unfortunate that at times their full impact doesn’t come until after their gone. But they are honored as givers of hope and peace, not destruction and war.
Can you think of anyone alive today that is at this level or could achieve it?
“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.”
~ John Maxwell