Unleashing Corporate Success: The Power of Courageous Leadership

01 May 2024

by Colleen Blackmore-Doucette, President, Steel Plus Network

Developing courage is essential for effective leadership and being courageous is a vital component of corporate leadership. Let’s dive into why this is so important.

Courageous leaders build trust by demonstrating authenticity and vulnerability and when leaders admit their limitations, apologize when necessary, and take calculated risks, they inspire confidence in their teams and stakeholders.

Navigating Difficult Conversations:

Corporate leadership involves making tough decisions, addressing conflicts, and engaging in difficult conversations—whether it’s delivering bad news, challenging the status quo, or advocating for change. “Effective communication during challenging discussions is crucial. I’ve learned that approaching these situations with empathy and clarity not only resolves conflicts more effectively but also strengthens trust within the team.” David Drouin, President, Groupe Camnor, Beauceville, QC.

“Prepare ahead of time if possible, practice in front of a mirror, list anticipated questions. If on the spot and you don’t have the answer, say, “I don’t have an answer for that right now but, let’s circle back in (set timeline/date)”.” Gary Wicks, President, JCT Metals, Strathroy, ON

Innovation and Adaptability:

Risk-taking is essential for innovation and courageous leaders must be willing to explore uncharted territories, experiment, embrace change, and foster a culture of creativity and adaptability. As David Drouin says, “In a fast-paced industry, the ability to innovate and adapt is essential. Encouraging a culture where new ideas are welcomed and tested has been a cornerstone of our success at Groupe Camnor. It’s about fostering an environment where creativity meets practicality.”

“Look for buy-in from staff [sic] hold team meetings quarterly, encourage input and let others run with good ideas they come up with, let them be the lead and measure their success.” – Gary Wicks

Ethical Leadership:

Courageous leaders uphold ethical standards even when faced with pressure and they prioritize integrity over expediency, setting an example for the entire organization. Gary Wicks puts it succinctly, “One team, support and encourage each other, always be kind.”

“Ethical leadership is foundational in building a reputable business. I’ve always believed that integrity should be at the core of all decisions, a principle instilled in me early by my dad who exemplified honesty and ethical consistency.” – David Drouin

Empowering Others:

Courageous leaders empower their teams by encouraging them to voice opinions, take ownership, and challenge assumptions and they create environments where diverse perspectives thrive.

“True leadership is measured by how well you empower others. Providing the team with the tools they need to succeed and stepping back to let them shine has proven to be a highly effective strategy for fostering growth and loyalty.” – David Drouin

“Provide others with the tools they require to be successful, celebrate the wins and don’t dwell on the bad decisions, encourage it as a learning experience.” Gary Wicks

Resilience and Crisis Management:

In times of crisis, courage is paramount. Leaders who remain steadfast, transparent, and empathetic during adversity inspire confidence and guide their organizations through challenges. Gary Wicks says, “Be able to think on the spot, pivot, make a decision and run with it. Always respect those around you.” A great piece of advice on resilience.

Leading by Example:

Courageous leaders model the behavior they expect from others and their actions should inspire employees to step out of their comfort zones and contribute boldly. 

“Respect all, listen with hearing, and roll conversations leaving it on the other person.” Gary Wicks

David wanted to add “Strategic Thinking and Cultural Sensitivity” to this list. These are important topics for leaders as they are “increasingly pertinent in today’s globalized business environment.” So, let’s talk about that. Strategic thinking empowers courageous leaders to make informed decisions, anticipate challenges, and create a lasting impact. Taking a proactive approach, having a holistic perspective (seeing the BIG picture), navigating complexity, fostering innovation and adaptation, and having a long-term vision are essential to the core of strategic thinking and courageous leadership. 

Cultural sensitivity is integral to effective leadership, especially for those who aspire to be courageous. 

  • Understanding diverse perspectives enables leaders to appreciate different viewpoints which fosters both empathy and respect. 
  • Being culturally aware enhances communication and allows leaders to adapt their messaging, ensuring clarity and avoiding misunderstandings. 
  • Create an inclusive environment that considers the needs and values of all team members.
  • Cultural sensitivity equips leaders to collaborate effectively across borders, demonstrating global competence.
  • Cultural awareness builds trust by demonstrating respect and understanding.

Being courageous in cultural sensitivity is not a mere add-on. It’s a cornerstone for leaders who aspire to be courageous and effective.

Courage is not the absence of fear; it’s the ability to act despite fear. Corporate leaders who embody courage drive positive change, foster innovation, and create resilient organizations.

Developing courage is essential for effective leadership. Here are ways leaders can cultivate courage:

  1. Listen:
    • Courage to listen is foundational. Open-minded listening allows leaders to learn, make informed decisions, and build trust with their teams.
  2. Dispute:
    • Great leaders courageously challenge themselves. They consider all sides of an argument without bias and admit when they are wrong. Prioritizing the organization’s success over ego is key.
  3. Resist:
    • Leaders have a duty to resist when needed. They should never consent to actions that don’t align with the organization’s best interests.
  4. Decide:
    • Leaders connect the past to the future through decisions. Courage to decide in uncertain conditions is crucial. Facing consequences bravely and committing to the journey drives results.
  5. Invent:
    • Leadership promises to guide us from the present to a better future. Innovation requires courage. Leaders must invent strategies, products, and processes to fulfill that promise.

Remember, courage isn’t the absence of fear—it’s acting despite fear. By practicing these behaviors, leaders can develop the courage needed to lead effectively.

“Not making a decision is more expensive than making a bad decision. So let’s make decisions even if they are difficult to make.” – Jacques Labbé, VP Operations, Groupe Camnor, Beauceville, QC


  • David Drouin, President, Groupe Camnor, Beauceville, QC
  • Gary Wicks, President, JCT Metals, Strathroy, ON
  • Jacques Labbé, VP Operations, Groupe Camnor, Beauceville, QC