Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

I decided that I should look through my wishlist on Audible. It had been a while since I had done so. There were a few in there that looked good to me but this was a book that I have been wanting to look into for a while. It didn’t disappoint. The reviews and feedback I read about it were spot on and it was a book that challenged the norms for good reason — many are ineffective.

The author shared the difference between armored leadership and daring leadership. One allows a relationship to be built and the other does not. Of the 15 or 20 different comparisons that she shared, 2 jumped out to me. It’s all about giving, as a leader, one should not expect congratulations, gratitude, or acceptance, those are things to give.

Armored leadership vs daring leadership:

Number 5, the armored leadership response is always being a knower and being right. The daring leadership response is being a learner and getting it right.

Number 14, In armored leadership, we collect gold stars. In daring leadership, we give gold stars.

This checklist was excellent and something that I see as vital for any company project. It’s simple and might require a short amount of preparatory time but the rewards will be great.

TASC — task and accountability checklist:

Task, who owns it
Authority, who is gene accountable
Success, time, resources, and clarity. What am I doing and why am I doing it
Checklist, what needs to happen
Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

We cannot always relate to the experience of someone else, but we can always relate to the emotion. I agree that true empathy is only realized when we are able to connect to an emotion. The experiences and situations will change over time if emotions are not addressed, even if an experience is different, the emotion will not be.

Empathy is not connecting to an experience. Empathy is connecting to the emotions that underpin an experience.

It’s so important to be the student in conversations about emotions. When someone is telling us how they feel, we need to listen, listen, and listen some more.

Empathy is first taking the perspective of the other person. Become the listener and the student, not the knower. Then stay out of judgment and try to understand what emotion they’re articulating and communicate your understanding of that emotion. Finally, practice mindfulness and take a balanced approach to negative emotions do feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated.

We MUST give them value. It’s so important to give them value. We need to show that they are worthy. We need to show them we care. The easiest way to do so is to bring presence.

Show up for people in pain and don’t look away.

I agree. There should be NOTHING that is too hard to talk about.

How do you talk about race? Brené’s response, you first listen about race. To opt out of conversations about privilege and oppression because they make you uncomfortable is the epitome of privilege.

We need to be sure that we are able to bring our best self to every conversation. Otherwise, there should not be a conversation.

Are you in the right headspace to sit down and give someone feedback?

There were 10 great things the author shared that practice vulnerability. After all that I have learned and studied about body language, I think that the first is super important. The worst thing that could be done is to put something in the middle of the conversation that two people are having. Number 7 about taking responsibility is also something that I think people tend to undervalue or feel uncomfortable with yet, it is essential in any relationship and conversation.

10 ways to practice vulnerability:

1. Sit next to rather than across — often there is something like a big desk between us, creates more distance and exemplifies a power differential.
2. The problem must be in front rather than between, be on their side.
3. Ready to listen, ask questions, and accept that we do not know everything. Must be from a position of curiosity.
4. Acknowledge what they do well rather than just pick apart mistakes. Much more powerful catching someone doing something right.
5. Recognize strengths and identify how they can use them to address their challenges or problems.
6. Hold people accountable without shaming or blaming.
7. Open to owning your part, you are ALWAYS at least partially responsible.
8. Genuinely thank for efforts and do not just criticize their failings.
9. Must be able to talk about how resolving challenges will lead to growth and opportunity.
10. Model vulnerability and openness you expect from someone else. Must hold ourselves to the same expectations and standards.

I wrote an article about this a few weeks ago and focused on the generosity aspect of these 7 things. I think that without all 7, there is not trust at the best level that it could be.

7 elements of braving trust:

1. Boundaries — respect them
2. Reliability — do what you say you’ll do
3. Accountability — own mistakes, apologize and make amends
4. Vault — do not share information or experiences that are not yours to share
5. Integrity — courage over comfort, what’s right over what’s fun, fast, or easy, practice values rather than simply profess them
6. Nonjudgement — can ask for help or what we need without judgment
7. Generosity — extend the most generous interpretation possible to the actions and intentions of others

I have actually used this technique before re-learning it in this book for calming purposes and also to lower my heart rate. During tense situations, I use this strategy to help gain composure before reacting and responding.

Tactical breathing:

Inhale for a count of 4
Hold for a count of 4
Exhale for a count of 4
Hold for a count of 4

This rewires the brain and calms you.

Finally, I noted 15 things that the author shared as a story rumble. A story rumble takes us out of the reactive story and rumbles that to create a new true story. The objective is to get everyone on the same page and aligned as best as possible. I love the process here and believe that while it might add a little time on the front end, it will allow the group and team to be much more efficient in the long-term.

Story rumble process:

1. Set the intention for the rumble.
2. What does everyone need to be engaged with an open heart and mind?
3. What’s going to get in the way of showing up?
4. Make a commitment to show up and show up in ways that support the process and trust-building.
5. Everyone shares a permission slip.
6. Check in: what emotions are people experiencing?
7. What do we need to get curious about? Builds more trust and confidence by being curious.
8. What are the SFDs in the room? SFDs are “story first drafts” that are the initial reactions or feelings.
9. What do our SFDs tell us about relationships, the culture, how things are working, etc? Resist the urge to need to know everything.
10. Where do we need to rumble? Where do we need a reality check and need to open lines of communication?
11. What’s the endpoint of all the SFDs and the information that we’re gathering in the meeting?
12. What are we learning?
13. What are the next steps? How do we act on the key learnings?
14. How do we integrate these learnings into the culture and leverage them for new projects? What is one thing that each of us will take responsibility for embedding?
15. When does this circle back? Let’s hold everyone accountable and regroup in the future.

The last thing I noted from the author was the following quote:

“Own the story and you write the ending. Deny the story and it owns you.” — Brené Brown

It’s up to us. People will judge us and treat us based on the way that we treat others. The Bible says that God will forgive us in the same way that we forgive others. The direction of our lives is largely dependent upon the way that we treat others. If we expect something from others, we must give that same thing. Daring to lead means acting first — it means leading by example and by the way that we live. I believe there is no other way. Jesus taught us how to live, love, and forgive by living, loving, and forgiving throughout His life on earth. We must do the same.

I gave this book a 3.5/5

To read this book, get it here

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