10 Great Examples of Courage in the Workplace

Courage is a valuable quality to have. But what does that look like in a workplace context? Take a look at some examples of being courageous at work.

Reviewed by Melina Theodorou

Example of woman showing courage in the workplace

What does being courageous in the workplace mean to you?

Some might consider showing courage at work to be something out of a Die Hard movie. However, being brave can be as simple as conquering your fears, being courteous to someone who may not deserve it or choosing to lead by example.

Courage is a soft skill that is sorely lacking in the present-day workplace; perhaps it’s time to resuscitate the concept.

First, it would be prudent to determine the type of behavior can be defined as brave or daring. For that reason, we have put together a list of 10 examples of courage in the workplace.

1. Picking the right battles at the right time

It’s important to know when to pick your battles. While you may not agree with certain established practices at your company, for instance, it’s important to determine which ones are truly worth working towards changing. That said, questioning leadership and defying the rules without having a plan can result in a disgruntled workforce.

To add to that, to show courage in front of your superiors, you need to use the right tone of voice, remain calm and non-confrontational and be reasonable with your requests. In other words, when voiced with a calm manner, courage is more likely to achieve positive results.

2. Asking questions

Considering the stance of many managers, sometimes you can be described as brave simply by asking questions!

In the past, many workers were subservient to their managers, rarely questioning work practices. Today, employees are more willing to come forth and ask questions, especially when things at work are not changing for the better.

While some managers may not like having employees asking too many questions, this should not deter you from posing your questions – especially if the directions you have been given are unclear, incorrect, risky or downright illegal. Problems cannot be solved if we are not willing to ask the necessary questions.


3. Getting input from others

In general, if you note that something is not right in the workplace and it bothers you, it’s important to get input from other employees to see if they also feel the same way.

Going against a company or a boss alone is rarely a productive pursuit. However, if you have more people on your side, there is a greater chance that the management will listen to you. Courage requires knowing more about the issue and how it affects others in the workplace.

4. Being assertive

Sometimes, you may be asked to do something that is not effective or efficient. In such cases, if you know of a better way to tackle the task, you can be assertive by giving your opinion to the management. Demonstrating a different method that works better and would be more productive, and which your supervisors did not think off, does require a bit of courage.

That said, arguing just for the sake of arguing is never fruitful, so if you are going to be assertive about something, make sure to also propose a solution. For example, your manager may always hold team meetings first thing in the morning, which delays your team’s starting time. You could explain this and request that all meetings are held after lunchtime. 

5. Saying ‘no’

Whether you are afraid you will lose your job or offend your superiors, waying ‘no’ in the workplace can be daunting. But sometimes, it is important to say ‘no’.

If you really feel that the workload is getting out of hand or that your manager is making unrealistic demands, it’s vital to communicate that to them and learn to say ‘no’. Make sure you provide a clear reasoning and use a respectful tone but remain assertive and stand your ground.

If you feel that something is out of line, such as being called into work on your day off, you have every right to deny your manager’s requests.

6. Showing initiative

Showing initiative is a crucial skill in the workplace. If you are constantly waiting for things to happen or to be told what do, you are wasting time. Taking the lead takes courage and is usually triggered when you recognize that something needs to be done or changed for the better.

Whether it’s you are helping out a struggling colleague without being asked, offering advice on how to do things better or speaking up when you realize something is wrong with the company’s processes, showing initiative is the hallmark of good leadership and courage.

7. Being respectful

Respect is a sign of courage, particularly when you are dealing with arrogant and odious individuals.

Indeed, sometimes, it may not be easy to be respectful towards certain arrogant or rude people at work, but how you behave is a reflection of yourself. That said, this doesn’t mean you should not speak up against these individuals when they step out of line, but you should always do it respectfully. It is courageous to be kind towards those who are the opposite of you, but in order to command respect, you have to give respect. 

8. Thinking big

Thriving in a competitive work environment is no small feat - it requires courage and determination. Thinking big requires you to set clear goals and showing others what you can achieve. Even if you face adversity and ridicule for your ideas and ambitions, keeping your eyes set on your end goals is a courageous thing to do. Of course, a pinch of realism is always important, but so is the courage to think big.

9. Stepping out of your comfort zone

Let’s be honest: being courageous means having to step out of your comfort zone

For example, this could mean taking on a project that no one else wants. Of course, you have to be realistic about your skills and knowledge, as signing up for projects that you cannot complete could be counterproductive. Knowing when to turn down new projects and waiting for the right opportunity to arise could also be an act of courage. That said, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself further and learn more about your industry and role – growth is often achieved through these opportunities. 

The important thing is to show others that things can be done even though it may initially appear impossible to do so. This requires quite a lot of boldness in today’s work environment.

10. Inspire others

Being able to inspire others is a form of courage in itself.

Witnessing or experiencing adverse behavior should requires us to speak up against it. Although you may face resistance when you do, in the end it could inspire others to do the same, leading to a wave of positive changes in the workplace and could foster a safer and more productive work environment. such

Final thoughts

Courage comes in different shapes and forms.

To demonstrate your bravery at the workplace, you need to be diplomatic, confident and able to pick your battles. Hopefully, the above examples will help you be more courageous and maybe even let you take your career beyond your wildest dreams.

Join the discussion! What are some other examples of courage in the workplace? Share them with us in the comments section below!