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The Courageous Leader by Angela Sebaly

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1The Business Case for Courage

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.1

—Anaïs Nin

Anna is the kind of person we all want to work with. She is considerate, compassionate, and approachable. In an industry where attracting and retaining talent is nearly impossible, Anna has been extraordinarily successful at keeping her people happy. When I first met Anna, I was in the process of visiting various locations throughout her organization to facilitate feedback from employees in the field. Before meeting Anna and her team, I had heard nothing but gripes from overworked and underpaid employees in other locations, most of whom pointed their fingers at poor leadership—especially in the “disconnected” corporate office. But Anna’s team offered a very different perspective. Their unique account of their experiences was uplifting. I spoke with one team member who held one of the least desirable jobs in the company, having to work at all hours of the night to dispatch calls from employees in the field. He said, “Even if the competition paid me double, I wouldn’t leave this company. Anna treats us like family.”

Anna did, in fact, strike me as a warm and caring matriarch, protectively hovering and providing for her flock. My visit fell on a Friday morning, and per tradition, Anna had brought in her homemade pastries. Before she could set them down on the breakroom table, greedy hands dug in, and her team clustered together to catch up on the week. I used this time as an opportunity ...

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