Leaders have a choice on leading and tough superheroes are out
In today’s business world, what makes a great leader? In this article, bestselling author Brené Brown shares how our supposed fragilities not traditionally associated with strong leadership, should be embraced rather than considered a weakness.
- Brené defines a leader as “anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes, and who has the courage to develop that potential”.
- Having the courage to show up and be present when the outcome is undefined, is the true test of courage and vulnerability.
- The ability to ask for help builds trust with the people in your team and those around you.
- In her book Dare to Lead, she uses the tagline: “Brave work. Tough conversations. Whole hearts”.
- Be grateful and take the time to remember. Celebrate the victories with each other and think about how you really want to spend your time every day.
Brené Brown has been researching what makes a great leader for more than 20 years, focusing on the tough subjects of vulnerability, courage and how to build trust. I, however, grew up at a time when the most respected leaders in the advertising world were feared by their staff and that having an opinion meant risking your role.
As leaders we have a choice – to take a risk, to be braver and to start looking at new ways to lead, which is what has led me to read the works of Brené and Simon Sinek. Their thinking and research has resonated with me over the years because it makes sense and it’s logical. In reality however, it has been a lot harder to put into practice.
How can you be present in every moment when there are five phone calls, three text messages, two slack updates and 100 emails coming into your inbox in the middle of every meeting? How do you have the courage to share your experiences and failures with your team who look to you for inspiration? And how do you ask for help? This is something I continue to strive to improve on.
In our ambition to become better leaders, what Brené shows us is that by making the courageous choice to lead with vulnerability, to be present, and to be in the arena with our wonderful teams, we have the opportunity to unlock their true potential. As leaders, that is our role – to find the best in our teams and to help them to grow and prosper.