Book Notes: Dare to Lead

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts by Brene Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What, if anything, about the way people are leading today needs to change in order for leaders to be successful in a complex, rapidly changing environment where we’re faced with seemingly intractable challenges and an insatiable demand for innovation? We need brave leaders and courageous culture

There are ten behaviours and cultural issues which get in the way of organisations:

  • We avoid tough conversations, including giving honest, productive feedback.
  • We manage problematic behaviour rather than acknowledging and addressing fear and feelings during change.
  • Diminish trust caused by a lack of connection and empathy.
  • Not enough people are taking smart risks or creating and sharing bold ideas to meet challenging demands and the insatiable need for innovation.
  • We get stuck and defined by setbacks, disappointments and failures so we waste time and energy reassuring people who question their value and contribution.
  • Too much shame and blame, not enough accountability and learning.
  • Opting out of vital conversations about diversity and inclusion because they fear looking, saying or being wrong.
  • When things go wrong we rush into ineffective or unsustainable solutions rather than staying with problem identification and solving.
  • Values are vage instead of actual behaviours which are taught, measured and evaluated.
  • Perfectionism and fear are keeping people from learning and growing.

The Rumble is a discussion, conversation or meeting defined by a commitment to lean into vulnerability, to stay curious and generous, to stick with the messy middle of problem identification and solving to take breaks and circle back when necessary, to be fearless in owning our parts, and to listen with the same passion we want to be heard.

The 6 myths of vulnerability –
Vulnerability is weakness – there can be no act of courage without vulnerability,
I don’t do vulnerability – life is fundamentally uncertain with risks and emotional exposure,
I can go it alone – humans are hardwired for connection as a social species,
Engineer the uncertainty and discomfort out of vulnerability – this is not something which you can fix out there it’s something you have to develop inside yourself,
Trust comes before vulnerability – in reality one can’t grow without the other,
Vulnerability is disclosure – this is not about oversharing its about leaning into conversations.

Ask your team”What does support from me look like?”

Armored LeadershipDaring Leadership
Driving perfectionism and fostering fear of failureModeling and encouraging healthy striving, empathy and self-compassion
Working from scarcity and squandering opportunities for joy and recognitionPracticing gratitude and celebrating milestones and victories
NumbingSetting boundaries and finding real comfort
Propagating the false dichotomy of victim or viking, crush or be crushedPracticing integration – strong back, soft front, wild heart
Being a knower and being rightBeing a learner and getting it right
Hiding behind cynicismModeling clarity, kindness and hope
Using criticism as self-protectionMaking contributions and taking risks
Using power overUsing power with, power to, and power within
Hustling for our worthKnowing our value
Leading for compliance and controlCultivating commitment and shared purpose
Weaponising fear and uncertaintyAcknowledging, naming and normalising collective fear and uncertainty
Rewarding exhaustion as a status symbol and attaching productivity to self-worthModeling and supporting rest, play and recovery
Tolerating discrimination, echo chambers and a “fitting in” cultureCultivating a culture of belonging, inclusivity and diverse perspectives
Collecting gold starsGiving fold stars
Zigzagging and avoidingStraight talking and taking action
Leading from hurtLeading from heart

Shame 1-2-3s:

  1. We all have it. Shame is universal and one of the most primitive human emotions that we experience.
  2. We’re all afraid to talk about shame. Just the word is uncomfortable.
  3. The less we talk about shame, the more control it has over our lives.

Guilt = I did something bad. Shame = I am bad.

If shame is obvious then you have a big problem but it can exist in organisations but in a much less obvious way such as: perfectionism, favoritism, gossiping, back-channeling, comparison, self-worth tied to productivity, harassment, discrimination, power over, bullying, blaming, teasing, cover-ups….

Empathy skills:

  1. To see the world as others see it, or perspective taking
  2. To be non-judgemental
  3. To understand another person’s feelings
  4. To communicate your understanding of that person’s feelings
  5. Mindfulness

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