Book Note: Care To Dare

Care to Dare: Unleashing Astonishing Potential Through Secure Base Leadership by George Kohlrieser, Susan Goldsworthy & Duncan Coombe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The concept presented in the book is the importance of a leader which provides a secure base so that the people in the team are able to take risks through daring while maintaining safety for them through caring. To be a secure base to others you need a secure base yourself , both in your personal and professional life.

The way a leader builds trust and influences others by providing a sense of protection, safety and caring and by providing a source of inspiration that together produces energy for daring, exploration, risk taking and seeing challenge.

The characteristics of a Secure Base Leader are

  1. Stays Calm
    Remaining composed and dependable especially when under pressure
  2. Accepts the Individual
    Accept and acknowledge the basic worth of the person as a human being, not just an employee
  3. Sees the Potential
    See beyond the current functioning state and see the long term potential which someone has perhaps 10 to 20 years in the future.
  4. Uses Listening and Inquiry
    To help people work things out themselves rather than telling or advocating a particular way.
  5. Delivers a Powerful Message
    A short sentence or gesture which impacts people deeply on a bullseye target.
  6. Focuses on the Positive
    So they can see the potential and the opportunity for learning, even in a crisis or time of difficulty.
  7. Encourages Risk Taking
    This is actively pushing people to do things which they may feel that they can’t, so they are in a position which they can learn and develop fast.
  8. Inspires through Intrinsic Motivation
    Focusing on potential, learning, development, passion, contribution and meaning
  9. Signals Accessibility
    People knowing that when they need you you are able to discuss or be a sounding board is useful to people to feel they are not alone.

This is more than just being nice to people this also requires Feedback – even painful feedback to help someone grow, Push – really challenging people, inspiring courage and not using fear, Accountability – they don’t accept excuses and will disagree with people taking the easy way out.

Key to being a secure base for others you need to build a strong and deep attachment that creates more energy than the person would have on their own. This attachment is what leads to high levels of caring. To be able to attach you need a strong feeling that the attachment is worthwhile, that you truly value that person and for that person to truly trust you.
A key part of attachment is to acknowledge and embrace loss – the person will grow and leave, the project will end etc. All things come to an end and by embracing this you can boost your attachment quality and speed of attachment and reattachment. At the end everyone goes through the stages of grief – celebrating etc can accelerate this process and move on together.

  1. Denial
  2. Protest – Anger
  3. Sadness – Missing
  4. Fear – Terror – Panic
  5. Rationalisation
  6. Acceptance
  7. New Attachment or Renewal
  8. Forgiveness
  9. Gratitude

Always look out for the positives and keep people focus on the benefits rather than tha negative pain so that they can Play to Win an not just Play Not to Lose.
Care must be taken that the past does not become a self fulfilling prophecy, as such taking a growth mindset is required to influence the “Mind’s Eye”. Through training you can focus on the positives and learn but not dwell on the negatives of the past. This can adjust how your see your current state and can have an influence on the results which you achieve. It is through developing the “Mind’s Eye” that you can lead to high levels of daring.

Playing to Win – “Together we can achieve great things” which needs courage

Playing Not to Lose – “Let us be safe and not take too much risk”

Playing to Dominate – “Who needs others?  I can do better by myself” which is where you are in total control.

Playing to Avoid – “I want to be left alone”

Rate your Secure Base Leadership on a 1 = never to 5 = always scale the following:

  • Remains calm when under pressure
  • Are dependable and predictable in terms of moods and emotions
  • Remains approachable for support, even in stressful situations
  • Value your team members as human beings, not just as employees performing a role
  • Accept people’s limitations and weaknesses in a supportive way
  • See the core goodness in people before judging or criticising them
  • Establish and hold a concrete vision of each direct report’s unrealised potential
  • Encourage each of your direct reports to realise his or her full potential
  • Ask your direct reports about their hopes and dreams for their careers
  • Listen actively
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Ask questions before telling people what to do
  • Deliver powerful, memorable messages
  • Speak clearly and succinctly
  • Use non-verbal signals and gestures to accentuate our memorable messages
  • Keep your team focused on the goal even when under pressure
  • Focus on opportunity and possibility more than problems and difficulties
  • Find and express the positive in situations
  • Encourage those who work for you to take risks
  • Provide real stretch assignments
  • Give people freedom and responsibility (vs micromanagement)
  • Determine what is really important to people and use that insight to motivate them
  • Stress the importance of learning, growth and development
  • Focus people on achievement and fulfillment rather than financial reward
  • Return calls or emails in a reasonable amount of time
  • Remain supportive of people even when you have little direct contact
  • Make yourself available to others when they have questions

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