How to Lead with Emotional Courage with Peter Bregman

In this exciting episode, Peter Bregman shares his thoughts about leadership and the importance of showing up with confidence, being connected to others, and being committed to a purpose in a way that inspires others to follow. He explains that the most successful leaders not only know what to say and do, but are willing to experience the discomfort, risk, or uncertainty of saying and doing it. These leaders display what Bregman calls Emotional Courage.

“Think about a conversation you need to have, but haven’t. You have all the skill and knowledge you need, but you aren’t doing it. Why? Most likely it is because you believe it may cause you to feel something you don’t want to feel. You might become disconnected from that person. Or they might come back in anger or act in a passive aggressive way that can damage relationships and put projects at risk. It could simply make you uncomfortable—and no one likes to feel uncomfortable. Emotional Courage is not how much you know—it is about what you are willing to feel,” says Bregman.

The four elements of Emotional Courage are simple to understand, but not always easy to implement. To be a leader with Emotional Courage, you need to:

  1. Be confident in yourself. To be confident, you need to understand who you are as a leader and then determine who you want to become. Asking for feedback is a powerful way to uncover blind spots, while listening to and accepting that feedback is the key to changing your behavior. Building confidence creates the foundation for your leadership style.
  2. Be connected with others. Listening with a willingness to learn something new is the birthplace of connection. Following through on commitments builds trust for a lasting, honest relationship. True success depends on connecting with others.
  3. Be committed to a purpose. Create a clear, powerful, compelling focus toward a larger purpose in order to channel your energy and the energy of those around you toward a common goal. Achieving a common purpose requires extreme focus.
  4. Act with Emotional Courage. Understand when you don’t want to feel something and take steps toward it. Be courageous and act boldly. Emotional courage feeds on confidence, connections, and commitment.

“The key thing to remember is to be aware of what is important to you and be willing to take the risk to increase your own productivity. That will have a positive impact on personal and organizational results—because you will be operating with Emotional Courage.”

About The Ken Blanchard Companies
The Ken Blanchard Companies is the global leader in management training. For nearly 40 years, Blanchard has been creating the best managers in the world, training over 150,000 people each year. From the award-winning First-time Manager program, based on the best-selling business book, The New One Minute Manager®—to SLII®, the most widely taught leadership model in the world, Blanchard is the provider of choice for Fortune 500 companies as well as small to medium businesses, government agencies, and educational and nonprofit organizations.

About Peter Bregman
For more information on Peter Bregman, visit

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About the Author

Chad Gordon

Chad Gordon is the host of the LeaderChat podcast and one of Blanchard's top client partners dedicated to helping global organizations lead at a higher level.

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