Balance Courage and Consideration

FranklinCovey Content Team

Do your wins come at the expense of others? Or do you allow others to win at your expense?
The best leaders assess their balance of courage and consideration intentionally and repeatedly. Courage often means telling it like it is, calling things out, stepping up to difficult conversations, and addressing tough issues. It also sometimes means saying nothing. When overdone, it can take the form of bullying, being overly brash and undiplomatic, or lacking empathy. Consideration often means showing kindness, being polite, and assuming the best in others. Too much consideration can become avoidance, capitulation, neglect, and disenfranchisement. Most of us have a natural tendency to one or the other — how, where, and even when you were raised will influence your style.
Every culture has its own equilibrium. Some value brasher, more outspoken styles, while others prefer a hold-your-tongue approach to avoid conflict. How do leaders find this balance while accommodating the diverse needs, preferences, and traits of their team members? By demonstrating courage in sharing opinions, tactfully calling out mistakes (including our own), and diplomatically challenging one’s direction while simultaneously accounting for people’s feelings, insecurities, and cultural norms. Geographical and organizational cultures do affect the courage/consideration balance, but principled leaders can thrive anywhere because most people want to hear truth when it’s respectfully presented.


  • Find a colleague whom you trust. Ask for specific examples of when they’ve seen you out of balance. Ask:
    • When do you feel I’m being overly nice or too considerate?
    • When have you seen me be too tough, abrasive, or “in your face” with others?
  • Be mindful of triggers that may push you to overdo consideration or courage. These could be specific people, situations, or topics.
  • Have the courage to ask and act.

To learn more about balancing courage and consideration, watch this short clip from Scott Miller, author of Management Mess to leadership Success.


Go from a management mess to a leadership success. Join Scott Miller for a live webcast and learn more about the 30 challenges that all leaders face. 

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