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Brené Brown, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author, is a researcher and storyteller. Dare to Lead TM is described as “The ultimate playbook for developing brave leaders and courageous cultures. Daring Leadership is a collection of four skill-sets that are 100% teachable”. Brené’s Dare to Lead TM program is facilitated in many well-known organizations striving to innovate and transform their industries. Successful organizations including Google, Microsoft, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have embraced the concepts outlined in Dare to Lead TM.
Anna Cuglietta is a certified Dare to Lead TM facilitator based in Edmonton, Alberta. Anna has come to be a long-time friend of Optimum Talent. Through our relationship, we have a high level of respect for Anna’s expertise and forward-thinking approach to leadership, culture and human resources. She is an executive coach with over 20 years of experience in mid-sized and large international organizations across various sectors. We sat down with Anna to learn the basics of Brené Brown’s teachings and more about Brené’s book, Dare to Lead TM. Here is Anna’s perspective on Brené’s research and why these skills are important for leaders today.
Leadership has always been critical to the success of an organization; however, our current environment requires leaders at all levels to drive innovation and creativity in order to thrive. This means that as leaders we are required to spur innovation, with the prospect of success and the possibility of failure. Creating environments that foster trust, engagement, courage, and resiliency are the heart of what leaders require to portray today.
Dare to Lead TM identifies four key courage building pillars that are a result of studying 150 organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies, military, education, and government over a five-year period. This work is impactful no matter what industry you are in or what role you play. Brené names the four pillars as:
Rumbling with Vulnerability in the workplace is defined as “dealing with uncertainty or risk and emotional exposure”; specifically, showing up with the idea that you can’t control the outcome. The research shows that leaders who demonstrate a level of vulnerability are seen as authentic and trustworthy, qualities that resonate with employees. Vulnerability, as defined above, which feels to most of us as weakness, is viewed by teams and employees as a leadership strength. Courage and confidence are required to show up and lead in situations where leaders can’t control the outcome. Leaders are at the front end of uncertainty in organizations today. The business environment requires that we take risks to innovate, grow and stay relevant. Innovation breeds risk of both success and failure in the workplace. How do you create an environment where people are willing to innovate and create? Where failing is part of the process of growth?
Living into our Values means that we are operationalizing the values that we say stand true in our organization. Operationalizing our values informs what is rewarded, what is tolerated and what is celebrated. For example, if innovation is an organizational value, then mistakes made in the process of trying something new are tolerated and the learning is integrated into the process. If teamwork is a value, rewarding team accomplishments would supersede individual recognition. Operationalized values shape what employees and clients experience on a daily basis. A powerful exercise that leaders engage in when working through this pillar is the identification and articulation of their own values. Discovering how personal values define and shape how we show up at work as leaders, peers and colleagues often creates a new level of self-awareness that is profound. Are your organization’s values operationalized? Do they shape the client and employee experience? What values guide you as a leader? Do your values align with the values of the organization you work in?
Braving Trust is the third pillar of courage building skills in Dare to Lead TM. Research shows that we build trust through small acts or moments when we demonstrate honesty and integrity. Brené defines integrity as the act of choosing courage over comfort and choosing what’s right over what’s easy. Owning mistakes, demonstrating accountability and setting clear boundaries (being clear about what is OK and what is not OK) are all part of Braving Trust. Beginning from a foundation of trust and extending an assumption of generosity of positive intent allows leaders to move from judgement to learning and resetting expectations and situations with clarity. “Clear is kind, unclear is unkind” Brené Brown. How can shifting from judgement to curiosity drive learning in your team?
The final pillar, Learning to Rise, is one of the most difficult – yet important – steps, in the Dare to Lead TM process. When we create an environment where there is room to innovate and create, we also leave space for failure and disappointment. The Learning to Rise process guides teams through a review of the entire “story” from start to finish. The focus of Learning to Rise is to distill the truth from our “version” of the story. It focuses on facts and moves away from assumptions and interpretations. Once we identify the “gap” between our “version of the story” and the facts, the learning can begin. The process builds resiliency within leaders, individuals and teams. Resiliency works in an environment where failure is OK in our pursuit to be better. Think about a time where you were unsuccessful at achieving your goals. What was the story that you told yourself about why you did not succeed? How did you contribute to the outcome? What is the “gap”? What is the learning?
Developing skills within these four pillars enables leaders to create environments that foster trust, innovation, engagement and resiliency.