I thought I would just write a short post on moral courage, which seems to be sorely lacking in society today. I feel that Moral Courage is the courage to speak up against people in powers if you feel that what they did is not right. I specifically choose the words “not right” instead of “wrong”, as “wrong” seems too strong a word. Chances are there are times where the person might have done something which is not desirable, and can be improved, so I termed it “not right”.
What I think is this: Our lack of moral courage stems from how we are educated as kids, and our lack of basic responsibility that comes with maturity. If we were never encouraged to speak up in class, we wouldn’t speak up to raise suggestions to improve current processes, flawed as they may be; or just slightly cracked.
Case in point: We always do reviews on what happened in the day; how we can improve certain processes or dynamics. At these times, it is great to have participants speak out on what they thought were the bad points and how they thought it could be improved.
I once did raise a point up during such reviews, and the situation was this: As trainees, we have to maintain sufficient hydration to reduce the chances of heat exhaustion during physical training like runs and exercises. As such activities are usually conducted in the morning, we are always required to drink water the night before (at least 500ml). What usually happens is that sometimes you drink right before you sleep, and hence you have to wake up and go to the toilet; which is rather detrimental to good rest. Otherwise you can choose to hold it there, but then you wouldn’t be resting rather peacefully would you?
Would a suggestion of drinking water some time before we sleep be a good enough solution? I think it would, and it would definitely help everyone. If it was a valid safety regulation in your company, would you have raised the issue?
Or perhaps the question is: Would you raise the issue knowing that you might get condemned by peers whose mentality and maturity are different from yours? Considering how people who are usually more vocal gets sidelined from the “group”, I think most people are contented with just not speaking up.
What if the situation was more severe? If we couldn’t find the courage to speak up for lesser events, would we have the courage to speak up for other situations? Or would we just encourage the “suck it” mentality?
As future leaders in our respective fields, companies, and what have you, it is always important or rather imperative to have this reflection process within ourselves and within our groups, and to encourage people to speak up, so as to constantly generate new ideas and improve company processes.
I would just like to end off with something I thought:
It does not matter what position you hold in an organization, be it a junior staff or just a cadet, but the behaviour and actions that you carry defines you and defines how valuable you are to your organization. Like a small ant being able to carry 50 times its weight, a small staff can carry an idea improving productivity and morale that grows exponentially.