Leadership can be exhausting, lonely, frustrating, disappointing, and downright discouraging. You have to make good decisions while balancing inevitable tensions and knowing when to take risks. You need to keep your values in sight regardless of the pressures around you and stay calm in the storms that arise. At its core, leadership is a daily, ongoing practice, a journey toward becoming your best self and inviting others to do the same. And at the heart of this daily practice is courage.
And that's where The Courage Way comes in. It's a guide to leadership that names and explores this important resource and shows leaders how to access and draw upon courage in all that they do. It has its roots in the work of Parker J. Palmer, who in fifty years of teaching, speaking, and writing has explored the human spirit—what he has called “the inner landscape”—and its role in life and leadership.
Shelly Francis identifies key ingredients needed to cultivate courage, the most fundamental being trust—in ourselves and in each other. She describes the Center for Courage & Renewal's Circle of Trust approach, centered around eleven “touchstones,” poetic and practical operating guidelines for holding the meaningful conversations of inner work and trust building. Each chapter features true stories of how leaders in all kinds of settings have overcome challenges and strengthened their organizations through touchstones like “Extend invitation, not demand,” “No fixing, saving, advising, or correcting,” and “When the going gets rough, turn to wonder.”
This graceful and inspiring book is a guide to courageous leadership and a journey of self-discovery—the two are inextricable. As Francis writes, “Courage is not only in you—it is you. In your moments of courage, that's when you meet your true self.”