Do You Have Social Courage?

In his recent column in the New York Times, David Brooks wrote about people with “social courage.”

People with “social courage” happen to the world.

Let me share a few things he described:

People with “social courage” are extroverted as they connect.  My sense of extroverted connectors is that they work within a group well.  They reach out their hand and introduce themselves.  They get names and remember them.  They break the awkwardness of initial meetings and make sure new people are oriented to the group.

Once the pleasantries are established and the group forms, people with “social courage” become introverted communicators.  It means they place a premium on listening, asking questions and learning.  They are “other worldly” in the sense that  they focus on what can be learned from others and getting others to participate.  They don’t have to be the star of the show.

People with “social courage” understand the difference between “clock problems” and “cloud problems” .  When you fix a clock, it’s a matter of identifying the broken pieces, replacing them and put the clock back together.  In order for the clock to work, it has to be put together the way it was built.  There is structure and discipline.  There is only one way.

As you can imagine, “cloud problems” are as different as the clouds in the sky.  They are hard to put your arms around, difficult to corral.  Solutions aren’t always apparent or certain.  People with “social courage” have to be brave enough to live with a condition or a problem until a strategy becomes apparent.  It calls for faith and hope.

In the end, “social courage leads to positive team building and great problem solving.  How do you fall on the “social courage” scale?



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