What is Emotional Courage?

Fall 2014

The importance of Emotional Intelligence or EQ and its effect on relationships at work, at home, or in our communities has been a topic of much interest. So what is the difference between EQ and Emotional Courage?  EQ is often defined as the ability to understand and manage our emotions and those around us. It helps us have the ability to connect with others. As vulnerability researcher Brené Brown shares, we must be vulnerable and allow ourselves “to be seen.” EQ is about knowing others and ourselves.

But knowledge is not enough. Emotional Courage is being willing to be vulnerable, truthful, and aware of the full spectrum of both negative and positive emotions. The word courage comes from the Latin word “cur” meaning heart, and according to Brown, in this context it’s about being able to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. Emotional courage is about sharing our self-knowledge with others and actively listening when others share their self-knowledge with us.

According to Dr. Paul Wieand, Emotional Courage is the missing link for EQ.

While emotional intelligence is important, in the I&D sphere it’s not enough. What happens when you misread the emotional cues of coworkers or supervisors? How they express their emotional state, both non-verbally and even verbally, is often affected by their cultural upbringing. According to researchers at the University of London, “basic emotions such as amusement, anger, fear and sadness are shared by all humans. … However, the way that we communicate is not always the same – for example, people from different cultures may not understand the same words and phrases or body language” Beyond the basics, emotional expression is not universal.

This is where emotional courage comes into play. It takes courage to share hard truths about yourself and situations in the workplace. It takes courage to bring to light different communication styles, cultural values, and cultural influences. It takes courage to initiate or participate in a courageous conversation. Before a courageous conversation can take place, participants need to have a moderate level of emotional courage.

Jonamay Lambert & Associates can guide you through the process of challenging conversations to help your environment thrive.

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