(3 minute read.)
Katherine Georgakopoulos took her background in Relationship Education and Community Development into the Corporate world a short time ago in 2017. Katherine is a life learner and has a strong desire to enable and empower people and organisations to thrive. Beyond the workplace, Katherine seeks out opportunities to be courageous, such as skydiving and bungee jumping.
Join us as Katherine highlights the many instances when courage is required in the workplace.
How would you describe workplace courage?
I see workplace courage as pivotal to an organisation’s survival, particularly in today’s rapidly evolving world with higher expectations, stronger competition and increasing uncertainty. As we do our best to execute today’s missions with agility, we must also invest strategically to prepare for the future and learn fast from failures – this requires courage.
I believe the true light of workplace courage shines when it is woven into the fabric of an organisation’s culture.
It is living and breathing at every level of the organisation, where a foundation of trust and belief has been built with internal and external stakeholders.
Workplace courage takes many forms but underpinning it all, I believe is a triumph of love over fear.
This is how I describe workplace courage:
- Courage is creating a safe place to bring our whole selves to work and feel seen
- Courage is taking values-based risks
- Courage is doing the hard thing knowing it’s the right thing to do
- Courage is trying a new way and giving it a go
- Courage is in those few seconds where you decide to go for it!
- Courage is stepping outside of the ego and getting curious about what’s happening
- Courage is stepping up to the challenge
- Courage is holding the mirror up for yourself and others
- Courage is leaning into discomfort and facing the fear
- Courage is walking the talk
- Courage is asking for support
- Courage is being vulnerable and opening up to others
- Courage is respectfully challenging others
- Courage is saying yes to opportunity
- Courage is saying no when something doesn’t feel right
- Courage is exploring beneath the surface
- Courage is being open and honest with others
- Courage is listening without judgement
- Courage is questioning our assumptions and limiting beliefs
- Courage is being authentic wherever we are at
- Courage is contagious!
What does courage look like in your workplace?
Courage is a big part of our organisation, in fact is one of our 4 global expectations. I see courage every day, from all parts of the business. From the courage to simply say good morning in the elevator, to checking-in with a teammate, all the way through to sharing a bold idea or speaking up when something doesn’t sit right.
Courage is an expectation.
This means – we are expected to share our learnings from failures; we are expected to take values-based risks; we are expected to be accountable for our development; we are expected to act with integrity and respect; we are expected to have constructive conversations and challenge the status quo. We celebrate courage in my workplace, and this is always a work in progress.
Please describe 1-2 examples in which you have been courageous. What did you do? Who/what enabled you to be courageous? What was the outcome?
The last 2 years have been transformational for me and this has required extreme courage. Two years ago, I woke up and realised that I wasn’t coping. I took the courage to leave my toxic home environment to begin the journey of healing, self-discovery and growth. It took courage to acknowledge my limiting beliefs, rebuild myself and leap into a big corporate company from a small not-for-profit.
From here I have reframed my attitude towards challenges, setbacks, conflict, failures, and uncertainty. I have learned to continuously check-in with myself, be present and know that whatever the experience, as long as I am living in alignment with my values, doing my best (whatever my best looks like at that moment), and reflecting with compassion, all that can come is learning and growth. I am now taking the courage to focus on my career development and have recently leaped into a new role which will present new and exciting challenges.
All of this would not be possible without my partner, sister and supportive colleagues. I continue to wrestle with dark times, however, the difference now is that I know my way back to the light.
From your point of view, to what extent are Australia’s leaders leading with courage?
I believe leaders are slowly but surely becoming more courageous and that this is stemming from an increasing level of self-awareness and seeing the business case of courage. I believe leaders see courage as an important factor for: transparency, risk taking, empowering people, making tough decisions, bouncing back, and moving forward. I believe it is important for leaders who are looking to enable others to be courageous, to link courage back to the organisation’s values and business goals, and not to mistake this with stupid risk!
Katherine loves connecting with others. You can reach her at:
I met Kat (Katherine) in late 2017 and was impressed by her strong sense of self and her commitment to being her best self and helping others be their best too. Since then, she has demonstrated significant courage, growing even stronger and clearer about what is important to her.