Courageous Behaviors at Work: The Courage to Be Candid | MIT Sloan Management Review

Leadership & Culture

Many leaders want to create a culture of transparency and candor—where employees and workers can openly share ideas, sentiments, and mistakes, to name a few. But fostering a culture of transparency must go beyond rhetoric and requires leaders to foster an environment where people feel courageous enough to share their views. This MIT Sloan Management Review article includes a Workplace Courage Acts Index—35 behaviors described as being at least moderately courageous. The behaviors are grouped into six categories according to who is primarily targeted by the behaviors. For example, two of the categories and their sample behaviors include 1) Stand up to authority figures (e.g., pushing back on leaders’ strategic or operating principles or practices when they don’t serve the organization well). 2) Confront peers. While I am not fond of the term “confront,” one of the behaviors outlined is: expressing concerns about the quality, quantity, or timeliness of a teammate’s work. The index can help determine the extent to which courageous behaviors are demonstrated in organizations. Since fostering an environment of psychological safety (PS) is critical to cultivating courageous behaviors in the workplace, here is an article on PS from MIT Sloan Review’s 2022 Summer edition. One of the co-authors is Amy Edmondson, who shares a newly modified version (page 23) of her original 1999 PS scaleThe questions (e.g., I tend to think about how raising a concern will reflect on me before speaking up) can be used to measure the level of psychological safety within an organization.

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