Brené Brown’s book “Dare to Lead” leads on perfectly from Daring Greatly to explain how vulnerability can be a strength in leadership and develop much healthier cultures.
She identified within organisations unhealthy behaviours and cultures.
- Avoidance of tough conversations
- Polite culture (not really addressing issues)
- Passive aggressive
- Too much time managing difficult behaviours
- Diminishing trust
- Too much shame and blame
- Values not being lived
When she asked participants to identify brave leadership they struggled and were not sure whether courage was a skill or a trait. She also needed to address the myths attached to vulnerability eg. its not a weakness it is a strength. Her studies showed that you cannot get to courage without rumbling with vulnerability.
When speaking to the Special Forces she asked did you feel vulnerable at a time of high risk and uncertainty and emotional exposure, one guy put up his hand and said he had been on three tours and felt that every time. This gave Brown her best example of courage sitting alongside vulnerability.
Vulnerability is not winning or losing it is all about the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome. To love someone is the ultimate example of vulnerability.
Everyone needs a square squad the group of people who love you for all your imperfections and your vulnerability. They are called the square squad as you write their names on a square piece of paper one inch by one inch, and carry them with you.
Clear is kind and Unclear is unkind. You want to give some-one feedback however you are reticent so you “fudge it” and end up talking to others rather than being clear and direct. Tough conversations are never easy but they are much kinder when they are clear.
Tips for your meetings to demonstrate bravery, use Brown’s technique of permission slips, what behaviour or intent do you want to bring to a meeting. For example I would like permission to listen with passion and I want to stay open minded. As a group writing down your intentions is powerful and a shared experience.
“Turn and learn” another technique for your team, when you experience unrealistic time lines or very different views on budgets. Brown’s team use the methodology of “Turn and Learn” when a timeline has to be agreed, they all write their prediction on a post-it note and on the count of 3, they all reveal at the same time. This prevents everyone following the crowd and original thought.
Guiding us through leadership and life should be our values which we need to live into. Brown says that we should only have 2 core values, and whilst this seems harsh you find that once they are recognised they do fit with decisions, behaviours and every aspect of your life. The 2 that she lives her life by are faith and courage.
It is tricky to know what comes first being vulnerable or trusting another person:-
How do I know if I can trust some-one enough to be vulnerable…?
How to build trust without ever risking being vulnerable.
The book uses the mnemonic of BRAVING as a tool to use with your team on developing trust.
B = Boundaries
R = Reliability
A = Accountability
V = Vault
I = Integrity
N = Non-judgemental
G = Gratitude
If you were to use the inventory on yourself, it might well read something like this.
“Did I respect my boundaries, did I rely on my self or my self talk, did I not share anything inappropriate, did I choose courage over discomfort, did I ask for help when I needed and was I generous to myself”
The final part of the book is the ability to learn to rise, therefore learning how to fall before you jump. The first lessons that sky divers learn is how to fall without a harding landing. We must rise from failure and be experienced with falling and rising.
The last word has to go to Brown “Choose courage over comfort, choose whole hearts over armour and choose the great adventure of being brave and afraid at the same time.”
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