Courage: The Backbone of Leadership

  • 3h 15m
  • Diane Elliott-Lee, Gus Lee
  • John Wiley & Sons (US)
  • 2006

Scandals in business and politics have been all over the news in recent years, but aside from a general expression of outrage, not much has changed. This is because the power to change does not come from information, but rather from modelling and practice. In Courage, Gus Lee captures a critical component of leadership: not only being honest and fair but acting beyond what may be obviously required, in a way that may be uncomfortable, and often lonely, but is utterly necessary.

Many people tolerate unethical acts, emotional abuse, and routine moral weakness. Particularly at work, they look away from character failings, ignore ethical compromises, avoid conflict, and generally feel stuck in moral gridlock. Yet studies show that ethical businesses profit more than others in the long term and that morally courageous leaders inspire their organizations toward sustained success. In other words, integrity and character drive profits.

Best-selling author Gus Lee not only backs up these claims but also provides the tools for creating and sustaining courageous action in the workplace. He helps the reader develop the "moral intelligence" necessary to root out unethical practices and behaviors by 1) assessing them for "rightness" and integrity, 2) addressing moral failures, and 3) following through with dialogue and direct action. An award-winning lawyer and teacher, Meritorious Service Medal recipient in the Army, four-time corporate whistle blower, and mentee of Norman Schwarzkopf and Nuremburg prosecutor Edgar Bodenheimer, Lee has experienced firsthand the power and benefits of moral courage and shares them in this book.

About the Authors

GUS LEE is an ethicist, author, leadership consultant, executive coach, and former corporate VP, senior executive, senior deputy district attorney, Army JAG, ethics whistleblower, paratrooper, and legal counsel for U.S. Senate ethics investigations. He managed California’s legal education for its 140,000 attorneys and was the lead trainer for the state’s prosecutors. He grew up in an African American ghetto, was raised by YMCA boxers and mentored by H. Norman Schwarzkopf at West Point, by Nuremberg prosecutor and Holocaust refugee Edgar Bodenheimer and Yenching scholar K. C. Liu at UC Davis. He has taught leadership at Bank of America, Centura, DEA, ISEC, FBI, Kaiser Permanente, Levi Strauss, the U.S. Department of Justice, West Point, Whirlpool, law firms and nonprofit institutions; has worked with executives from Caterpillar Mexico, Franklin Investments, Homeland Defense, Kodak, Nestlé, NASA, NORAD, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Stora Enso, and Xerox; and is an adjunct for the Center for Creative Leadership, the Office of Personnel Management, and the U.S. Department of Justice.

He has written five best-sellers; optioned two for film; written for Time and the Encyclopaedia Britannica; addressed the National Conference of Supreme Court Justices, Smithsonian Institution, Young Presidents, many colleges, and many national organizations; performed more than two hundred criminal jury trials; won many military and civilian awards; and spoken on CBS This Morning, CNN, NPR, and Voice of America.

DIANE ELLIOTT-LEE received her M.S.N. cum laude in psychiatric nursing from the University of Nebraska, Omaha, and her B.S.N. with high distinction from the University of Northern Colorado. She has been a multiple award-winning clinical nurse specialist, hospital-wide ethics committee member, and medical school clinical faculty at the University of California San Francisco and UC Davis medical centers. She has served as adjunct faculty for Beth-El College of Nursing at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and as a leadership consultant to hospitals and health care organizations.

Given the choice between pursuing her dynamic career and raising her children, she made the courageous decision to leave the first to focus on the second. She has been active in youth, community, and church activities while volunteering for the American Red Cross and advocating for principled nursing education, the care of untended teens, and rational student life.

Diane has helped edit Gus’s five previous books and provided guidance, inspiration, and structure for this one.

In this Book

  • Courage—The Backbone of Leadership
  • Introduction
  • Chris’s Story
  • Seeking Courageous Core Values
  • Going Deeper (and Higher) into Values and Ethics
  • Chris Boldly Moves Forward
  • Coda: Applying Courageous Values at Whirlpool
  • Courageous Communication
  • The Courageous Communication Model
  • Courageous Feedback
  • Courage By Example
  • Courageous Leadership
  • Three Acts of Courageous Leadership
  • Courageous Problem Solving: The Black Box
  • Using Courageous Communication from the Bottom Up
  • Everyday Habits that Build Courage
  • Your Character Quotient
  • The Courage to Change
  • Notes