In a constantly changing global business environment, it can be a challenge to create certainty for those we lead. While an admiral goal, absolution is not possible due to the inherent imperfections of the world we live in and as a result of human behaviour – we’re all prone to misreading situations and to making mistakes. What can unite us though, and help us lean into our own limitations is embracing the willingness to be vulnerable as leaders. This is exactly what participants are encouraged to do in our Dare to Lead Program. The Dare to Lead Program is based on the work of Brene Brown and focuses on being a more authentic version of ourselves and presents a refreshing way to look at the idea of vulnerability in leadership. A significant amount of time is spent, discussing and dissecting the importance of vulnerability and how closely tied it is to courage. Simply put, we reconnect with the vulnerability as a strength rather than a limitation. Though the course is designed for leadership development, there is a deeply personal aspect of each of the lessons that many find confronting. The biggest take away that participants have had is that they found they were challenged in unexpected ways. It has helped them become better leaders at work and a much better version of themselves on the home front.
Be brave in ways you have never been before
It’s not often that we get the chance to explore what it means to be brave both as an individual and as a leader. Participants who undertake this opportunity in the Dare to Lead program gain a deeper understanding about harnessing brave leadership as a willingness to act during times of uncertainty. We can not lead bravely without the risk of falling short, because in order to do so we must be willing to do what is right over what is easy. In order to foster an environment of trust, leaders should allow themselves to be perceived as vulnerable. One of the ways this is explored is by thinking about what prevents us from being open and honest in front of others. We are given the tools to learn to recognise these moments when they occur and how to step back and prevent them from overcoming us.
Find courage when things get tough
One of the first exercises of the Dare to Lead program is Container Building where every participant comes together to discuss what behaviours will be required to create a safe environment for everyone to feel comfortable opening up with potential strangers. This encourages the building of courageous cultures that enable us and others around us to be brave. A large part of what it means to have courageous cultures is that it eases some of the difficulty of having tough conversations. In her book, Dare to Lead, Brown writes about the paradox of avoiding these tough conversations in an effort to be polite or kind – an idea that is wholeheartedly rejected. Instead, both she and the course teach us that “CLEAR IS KIND. UNCLEAR IS UNKIND.” All this means is that having the courage to be honest, even when telling hard truths, is ultimately a much kinder act than being ‘nice’ about it. As we reflect on the massive uptake in the Dare to Lead program we can see that the notion of “clear is kind” has always been a big part of leadership development programs and the development of high performing teams, however, said so simply and eloquently and enabling people to build stories around “clear is kind” and the opposite of ‘unclear is unkind” just makes it so much more powerful!
Integrate your unique values into day to day life
The Dare to Lead Program challenges participants to work on themselves and explore what is most important to them as a person as well as a leader. Our values aren’t always something that we act on consciously in our everyday lives (though of course they can be). In fact, it is when we evaluate our behaviours that we find out that our values are. In doing this, we may realise that the beliefs we hold aren’t as frequently called upon as we thought. Such an exercise can be an eye opening experience for some, taken as an opportunity to refocus our ideals and begin to integrate those we wish to see more of.
Values based leadership is about living and leading with values that motivate others to do their best and that inspires everyone to contribute to the greater good. Some participants have followed the Dare to Lead Program with ongoing conversations via a ‘buddy system’ that is encouraged on the program, and others have taken on coaching from The Leadership Sphere expert coaches, in all cases the impacts have been even more significant, as the ongoing reflection allows the embedment of the core leadership development take aways from the program.
Re-establish trust with yourself and others
It takes quite a bit of due diligence to truly understand what causes us to feel angry or begin to shut down, as well as to understand the connection with feelings of worry, guilt, and shame. We may not always realise that when we react to certain situations with anger or dismissal, we may be experiencing something deeper (like fear or shame). By acknowledging this we can connect with what it takes to build an environment of trust where we can confidently rely on ourselves and others to do the right thing.
Relearn the importance of self compassion and empathy
It is often much easier to extend compassion and empathy to others when they open up to us, but we don’t always extend these same courtesies to ourselves. What we view as bravery in others can feel like weakness in ourselves. This could not be further from reality. Dare to Lead teaches valuable techniques that help us to be more understanding of ourselves and others as we realise that everyone is doing the best they can. In an interview with certified Dare to Lead facilitator, Phillip Ralph, course alumnus Simone Wright put it another way: “hearing other people’s experiences, while they’re different, are similar.”
Simone also said of her experience that “there’s an emotional journey in this course that is very strong” – a sentiment shared by many alumni of the course in a way that they found was unexpected. At the heart of the course is the coming together of the personal with the professional. It’s about humanising the workplace. Every person’s journey will be unique as it forces us to do a great deal of introspection about the things we value, feel, and experience. Not only have participants reported seeing a benefit in their leadership roles professionally, but personally as well. The Dare to Lead Program is designed to encourage participants to explore ideas in great detail and allow them to gain a deeper understanding of themselves.
For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can support your leaders with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.