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Bravery—Its Rarely Robin Hood and Maid Marian Behavior

July 11, 2018 by ·


The moment the word Bravery is expressed visions of the Round Table or Robin Hood and Maid Marian dance across the mind. This grandiose construct of Bravery rarely is required in business.

So, what does the VIA character strength of Bravery mean in today’s reality? It is an understanding of risk and an acceptance of the consequences of action. It involves the mastery of fear rather than fearlessness. Bravery is considered doing what is right, including confronting the status quo or opposing an unhealthy idea, and as such, it takes on a moral tone.

And there is a more subtle side as psychoanalysts have concluded that Bravery is present as part of people’s daily ability to face challenges.

Bravery isn’t a one size fits all as studies confirm there are few common demographics—including gender or attitudinal differences—between those who speak up courageously and those who don’t. It relates more to nature and nurture, which you impact through your choices!

How can you employ Bravery?

  • Omission or Commission? Close your eyes to review your history; then ask yourself: What do I regret most? Is it the actions I’ve taken or those I knew I should have but didn’t? Most say they lament lost chances to be who they knew they wanted to be. Next time, engage and move into the challenge as in retrospect you now appreciate the cost of holding back.
  • Honor Diverse Points-of-View—Particularly Your Own. It is comfortable to sit back quietly and let others speak—you just can’t. It requires courage to offer your opinion even when it may not be popular. The reverse is applicable for leaders. In that case, you need to remain silent until everyone in the room has had a chance to voice their opinion and process the ideas generated. Your silence demonstrates the trust you have in those you hired to come up with the right ideas—and it entails Bravery on your part.
  • Practice. Take on these quick-hit tactics and watch your Bravery factor grow.
    • Your voice is meant to be heard. So, speak up. Be smart about it. Recognize your audience and then craft your communication to reach them effectively.
    • Think about the times you have found yourself shying away from confrontational situations. Before you go to sleep at night or on your drive to work, envision scenarios where you can choose Bravery through contributing and making a difference. Imagine your body language and your tone of voice. Then, when faced with a similar real-life challenge take a deep breath and be brave.
    • Soak yourself in personal stories relating to Bravery, which is contagious. Think about how eye-opening reading autobiographies where great leaders recognize their mistakes and failures invariably led to who they are today?

In part, Bravery encompasses reasoned judgment. It is not confronting status quo just for the sake of change. Inherent in the definition of Bravery is speaking up for what makes the world a better place or defending the underdog or supporting a new idea that has merit. Bravery causes you to tap into the truth of who you are and what you hope to achieve so that you can move powerfully throughout your career and your life.

Take the VIA Survey and discover where Bravery appears in your results:

Thank you to our VIA Blog Contributor, Nancy Fredericks, for this post on boosting the VIA strength of Bravery. 

Nancy Fredericks is a preeminent Business Executive Strategist, Author and Thought Leader. Corporations like Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Allergan and Transamerica have retained her to optimize individual and organizational performance. As a gifted coach, she partners with executives to produce sustainable, powerful results. Her approach identifies hidden problems that keep executives from mastering the gap between the results they are currently producing and the results they are capable of and want to produce in expanding their leadership range. She brings more to a coaching relationship than simply business savvy—she is an innovative collaborator.





Character Strengths and Virtues, A Handbook and Classification, Christopher Peterson, Martin E.P. Seligman, Oxford University Press, 2014, page 214.

Ibid, page 215.


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