It’s been said that a reasonably intelligent 15 year old can do maybe 80-95% of the decisions required by a senior organisational leader.
It’s the other 5-20% that makes all the difference! What is the difference maker?
The difference maker is courage.


Psychologist Henry Cloud puts it like this: “Courage does not mean that you don’t feel fear. Courage means you do what is needed even when it scares you.”

Its that difficult phone call you know has to be made.

The meeting with the awkward colleague that no one wants to address and you know you should.

Or maybe it is ending a key relationship that you’ve tried to persevere with, but is just not working.

These are the tough calls.
What is a tough call?

It’s a decision you know you should make because it will help you and your organisation. But, and here is the clincher, you find you find yourself hesitating to make it for a whole variety of reasons – some good and some maybe not so good.

What you need is the courage to step forward.

C.S. Lewis said, “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality.”

What are the marks of a tough call that requires courage from you? John Maxwell has helpfully teased out the following 4 characteristics:

1. It requires a significant investment of thought, energy, time and  prayer.
Tough calls require wisdom. Getting that wisdom can be costly. If you think of the tough calls in your own life its likely that bringing one to mind even now can bring a whole flood of emotion. It may even have been several years ago, but no matter how much time has passed, a tough call that called courage out of you can still make you groan with the emotion involved.

2. There is risk
There is the thought at the back of your mind, ‘This just might not work out. This could go horribly wrong.’ And you know that doing nothing may not necessarily be an option. Making no decision is itself a decision.

3. It can be questioned and even criticised.
Quoting Maxwell, “I’ve never made a tough call that prompted everyone in my company to proclaim, ‘Oh, what a wise man you are.’ I have, however, made tough calls that made them say, ‘That was one of the stupidest things we’ve ever seen you do.’ My point is this: if you make a decision that brings unanimous approval, it wasn’t a tough call.”

4. It comes with significant cost.
That cost may be financial, but it can also cost in terms of relationships or peace of mind. You may well lose sleep over it, but the cost will be high.

It comes as no surprise then that we hesitate to make tough calls. However, the further you desire to grow as a human being and as a leader the more you will have to accept making tough calls.

In the next blog post we will look at a pathway to navigate to help us in making tough calls.

If you want to explore this further do also look at 4 Simple Questions To Ask Yourself To Develop Confidence.

What are your thoughts on developing the courage to make those tough calls?