Professional courage and influence - Lesson 1: your reflections


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CIPD Staff

17 Jan, 2020 10:31

Welcome to the online community learning space for the lesson: Getting started with professional courage and influence. Use this forum to discuss the community reflective activity in the lesson. Read the contributions of others, ‘liking’ those you find helpful and add your unique reflections to the conversation by replying to this post. Click here to return to the lesson page at any time.

Community reflective activity:
Think of a people professional that you have worked with who showed professional courage and influence and the characteristics or behaviours they demonstrated. 


  • During this first lesson I have been thinking about someone who has recently joined our BP team who does this very well. They have the courage to ask questions and speak out when something doesn't seem right but they do so in a way that isn't antagonistic. They are not afraid to challenge or seek further clarity from all levels. They have excellent interpersonal skills so this definitely helps.
  • For me professional courage means demonstrating the below characteristics:
    1. excellent communication skills
    2. very good interpersonal skills
    3. stand up for what you think is right at a certain point in time
    4. respect others' views
    5. be humble and admit mistakes
    6. take risks and confront your fears!
  • The person I am thinking of really helped me to grow in confidence myself. She always showed strong integrity to do the right thing and would always listen to people's viewpoint. Before making any decision she wanted the full facts and information, taking into consideration how people may react and thinking of ways to counteract any negativity. Even when making decisions that weren't going to be popular she did so with sensitivity and always made sure to explain fully why the decision needed to be made in order to ensure understanding. Her professional courage has meant she has had positive results on almost everything she has set out to achieve and is now a highly respected senior manager within her field.
  • The person this made me think of had the ability to really listen to others when sharing ideas and consistently made reference to others' ideas in order to both challenge and support what they were presenting. Reflecting on the introduction to this course I would consider professional courage to manifest as:

    • - trusting instincts when it comes to presenting ideas or sharing new ways of doing things
    • - having faith in your own opinion whilst also listening to the voices of others and see how that can both challenge and support your own argument. Using it constructively.  
    • - asking questions when you need more information, there should be no shame in needing to know more in order to understand better
  • I think that we have all within HR no matter what level, in the last 10 months been in a situation were we need to show professional courage and influence.  Personally, I have watched my lead manager confront much resistance regarding changes to policy and working life, since COVID-19 and social distancing. They have shown composure, resilience but most importantly empathy.  They have had to choose how to approach each situation and audience and tailor there response accordingly. They, in effect have demonstrated to myself and the team around the skills required to negotiate these situations, but also influenced ourselves to use our own 'courage', to use our own voice when we see situations unfolding, so that we have the skill to personally rectify, empathically handle and successfully resolves the problem.

    I hope that by watching and observing others around me, to see what works, different methods and skills. I will progress and with opportunity take the risk to challenge situations and to learn how to become an effective influencer within my role.

  • A HR professional that has shown professional courage and influence was a member of or ER team. When dealing with a disciplinary process, my manager had hinted towards wanting the end result to be dismissal, regardless of how the meetings went. The ER team member was professional and use her influencing skills to explain the process to my manager to see how this may not be the best result. She used her courage to speak up about something she could see was not right and dealt with it professionally.
  • A previous manager when not wanting to do the same specials or theme nights anymore he turned to the team and asked them what they thought what ideas they might have of how to move forward. Not many managers I have interacted with ask for help, let themselves be vulnerable and put that kind of question out there. It seems to be they feel scared and in the position they hold should have all the answers. I would rather they say they don't have all the answers, but interesting question/thought and i'll take a look into it. Rather than being dismissive, it creates a trust within the relationship dynamic and reinforces the psychological contract.

    Communication is so important for each behaviour but especially when networking and trying to influence others.
  • I have found through supporting colleagues in my organisation the value of connecting with stakeholders on issues that are being raised within a service or specific part of the organisation. Rather than simply deal with the issue head on, gaining perspectives from various stakeholders on a one to one basis can help unfurl the real issues and the pain points that are being observed across the board. It is a beneficial exercise on a number of levels.
  • The person who comes to mind for me tends to approach the harder issues to raise in a caring, non-threatening way. This angle of removing the feeling of winning/losing and instead highlighting from the offset the collective greater good to be achieved, created an atmosphere in which those potentially doing wrong and the subject of the speaking up, would be seen as campaigning against the outlined greater good in order to justify their actions.