Jim Detert is this week’s guest on Love In Action. He is a Professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business Administration and the world’s foremost expert on workplace courage. Jim discovered that courage is a skill that anyone can learn and develop over time. Jim’s new book, Choosing Courage: The Everyday Guide to Being Brave at Work, explores why people speak up or stay silent at work, and teaches you how to channel your emotions and take action with the right attitude and approach.
Listen on Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts
- Jim defines courageous acts. “A courageous act at work is something you do for a worthy cause despite perceived risk, and those risks might be career [related], economic, social or psychological.” [6:45]
- Marcel asks Jim to share how he conducted his research. “I used all kinds of methods in a lot of cases,” he replies. “I collected deep, rich stories from the actors themselves, and sometimes I asked people to report on others’ courageous acts… I surveyed thousands of people to understand what kinds of behaviors were at play, why people behave how they do, and what skills seem to make a difference in how the acts go.” [15:17]
- Whistleblowers are workers that take internal problems external, Jim says. Despite laws against retaliation, whistleblowers tend to get “clobbered emotionally” and often lose their careers, reputation, friendships, and relationships, as well as their jobs. Yet even after all this, they confidently say they would do it again. “We have a code that tells us what’s right and wrong, and there seem to be very few people who regret it in the long term after they stand up for who they are,” he claims. [23:37]
- According to Jim, there are a number of factors to consider when choosing battles at work. One such factor is how important an issue is to you and others. “I can notice 42 things a day that irritates me about my work environment and that I could speak up about, but if I overdo it on Monday about a couple of relatively trivial things, when the big one comes on Thursday, nobody wants to hear me anymore,” he explains. [31:19]
- In most cultures, especially for men, anger is the acceptable way of expressing hurt or pain. If you see someone acting with anger, as a leader you owe it to them to investigate the root of their anger and display care, rather than dismissing them immediately. Not being bothered to even try finding out what may be wrong is not a sign of a caring leader. Jim and Marcel explore how fear influences leadership. [36:56]
- “Reasonable people adapt to the world around them; unreasonable people try to change the world around them. That’s why all change depends on unreasonable people,” Jim quotes. “My calling in life is to be functionally unreasonable. We can’t change systems and long embedded beliefs without having the courage to challenge them and push for something that might seem crazy or outlandish at first.” [44:36]
Don’t Forget to Subscribe!
Are you loving this episode? Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any future episodes.
What’s Your Reaction?
We really love feedback, so please click here to give us a quick review on iTunes!
Now Accepting Podcast Sponsors
As we challenge current management thinking and practices and build skills around human leadership and human-centered work cultures, we would be delighted to accept your sponsorship for future episodes. If interested, contact Marcel.