Talking courage with an Associate Lecturer

(2 minute read)


Lara Mossman (BSc, MA, MAPP) teaches and develops positive psychology courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in Australian universities.  Her research interests are in the application of positive psychology in youth sports.  Lara writes for the Player Development Project as well as blogs for a number of other websites.  She is currently developing an online training program for football (soccer) coaches.


How would you describe workplace courage?

Workplace courage is standing up for what you believe is right, even in the face of opposition.  It is also about over-coming self-doubt so that you can share your ideas, and not just allow the loudest voices at the table to be heard.

Workplace courage is about backing others’ ideas and creating a culture that is comfortable with failure and set-backs.

What does courage look like in your workplace?

comfort zone 2I’ve used courage in my workplace to put myself outside of my comfort zone by sharing my ideas, especially when I’m not sure how others will receive them.  I use courage to overcome self-doubt.  I’ve seen courage in my leaders when they’ve backed my ideas and believed in me, even when undertaking new initiatives.  Courage has led to some wonderful innovations and collaborations in my career. My leaders use courage to stand up for our team and for what is right during difficult times, too.

Please describe 1or 2 examples of times in which you have been courageous.  What did you do?  Who/what enabled you to be courageous?  What was the outcome?  

I saw a gap in our subject offering and suggested a new undergraduate subject to my supervisor.  My idea was well received and I was able to collaborate with my colleagues to get the new subject up and running.  For me, sharing my ideas when everyone around me seemed infinitely more qualified and experienced required a lot of courage.  It took a lot of work and a very steep learning curve, but the experience was very rewarding.  I can’t express how grateful I am to my immediate supervisor and other members of the leadership team for putting their trust in me and supporting me with encouragement.

From your point of view, to what extent are Australia’s leaders leading with courage?

This is a really tricky question to answer as it’s hard to aggregate individual levels of courage to a population of leaders as a whole.  I have a general sense that leaders draw on caution more than they do courage, and that this stifles creativity.

You can follow Lara on Twitter: @LaraMossman

I recall Lara sharing her journey as a MAPP Graduate with our class of MAPP students on day 1 of the program.  I admired Lara’s courage in sharing her story – the benefits and successes, the challenges and the resultant learning.  I was grateful then for her authenticity and generosity of spirit, and continue to be grateful today.   @CourageChick


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