Want to build your emotional courage? Feel into your discomfort.

To lead effectively – really, to live effectively – you must be confident in yourself, connected to others, committed to purpose, and be emotionally courageous.” Peter Bregman

Are you looking for practices that will help support you in your leadership for life? In particular, for those times when you feel  discomfort about having  difficult and important conversations, or taking an informed calculated risk, or handling a setback or failure, or leading and living in uncertainty. Great leadership is hard! It is about being willing to experience the discomfort that occurs in all these challenging leadership situations.

Leading with Emotional Courage


According to Peter Bregman, the most critical challenge of leadership is emotional courage. He purports that “the gap between leadership theory and practice is huge, and it is emotional courage that bridges the gap.” It helps you have the courage to speak up when others remain silent, be stable and grounded in the face of setbacks, failure, and uncertainty, admit you don’t know and ask for help, respond productively to opposition without getting distracted, and weather other’s anger without shutting down or getting defensive.

Peter Bregman offers 4 essential elements that all leaders need to excel at.  “To lead effectively – really, to live effectively – you must be confident in yourself, connected to others, committed to purpose, and be emotionally courageous.”

Here are Peter’s four essential elements:

  1. Be Confident in yourself. Embrace your authentic leader identity and lead with your strengths and grow yourself in your areas of development. This is healthy self regard – an emotional intelligence competency. With healthy self regard comes an authentic confidence that is unshakeable.
  2. Be Connected to others. Be appreciative, interested, and curious about people. Listen deeply, be keen observers of others, and learn what is important to them and what their hopes and dreams are.
  3. Be Commited to a purpose bigger than yourself. Know your compelling why and share this with those around you. Inspire action towards your shared vision and purpose.
  4. Be Emotionally Courageous. Be comfortable with discomfort and feeling uncomfortable. Feeling uncomfortable is almost always a feeling you will have when you do anything that requires emotional courage. This is the new normal! Be comfortable with a range of emotions and grow your emotional intelligence.  The good news is showing up emotionally courageous builds your emotional courage.  Emotional courage feeds and draws upon confidence, connection and commitment.

Are you curious how you rate on the 4 C’s Confidence, Connection, Commitment and Courage? Peter Bregman has created an assessment on his website and also in his book, that helps you identify strengths and weaknesses in each of the four elements. It’s free to take http://bregmanpartners.com/where-is-your-leadership-gap-assessment/

I will be including this important topic of emotional courage  in my upcoming leadership programs. This will provide opportunities for participants to self diagnose, reflect, and engage in interactive learning activities to help them grow their emotional courage.

More on Peter Bregman:

Peter is CEO of Bregman Partners; a company that helps senior leaders create accountability and inspire collective action on their organizations most important work. He is the author of the new book Leading with Emotional Courage; how to have the hard conversations, build accountability and inspire action (2018) Wiley; and the author of the July – August 2018 Harvard Business Review article Great Leaders are Confident, Connected, Committed and Courageous. He is the host of the Bregman Leadership Podcast.

You may want to read the following WILL companion blog posts:

“Want to grow your Emotional Agility?  Lean into your discomfort”

“Women, Emotional Intelligence and Leadership”

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