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Key Learnings From ‘Dare to Lead’ by Brené Brown

Formal learning is important but in the crush of everyday life, it can sometimes be too time consuming to undertake it. There’s also the fact that some real and important lessons are not classroom fodder, but more experience told in a real-world manner.

To continually keep on top of business trends, I try to read one business/leadership orientated book a month. I love business books because I can fit them in around my other tasks, thanks to the Kindle App (or apple books or whatever you prefer) and Audible. I don’t have to make time for them, I just make them part of my commute, or cooking prep or walking the dog. Those people who say they don’t have time to read aren’t being creative enough.

I have a bunch of favourite books on business and leadership, but one of my all-time favourites is ‘Dare to Lead’ by Brené Brown. It’s a book about leadership – the ultimate playbook for developing brave leaders and courageous cultures.

Daring leadership is a collection of four skill sets that are 100% teachable. It’s learning and practice that requires brave work, tough conversations, and showing up with our whole hearts. I’m the first one to say that this all sounds a bit soft and fluffy, but it’s actually quite confronting and difficult to do all of the above and I’ve found in my workplace, 100% worth the effort.

We are not robots for whom emotion exists outside of work, we feel and experience those feelings whether we’re at work or not. Recognising, acknowledging and working through them leads to better trust, accountability and work culture.

Here are the most important learnings I took from ‘Dare to Lead’:

  • A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes, and who has the courage to develop that potential.
  • Square squad – if they’re not on my square, they are not in the arena and therefore their opinion of me does not matter.
  • Clear is kind – difficult or awkward conversations are less difficult if you approach them with empathy and kindness. Be clear on what outcomes you expect and what delivery looks like.
  • Vulnerability is not a weakness although it feels scary and confronting – letting people know that you have feelings and fears like everyone else can be powerful and relatable. Instead of others viewing you as weak, they can see you as more human, approachable and accepting or them, their ideas and backgrounds. When people feel truly accepted for who they are, they can give you their all.
  • What does support look like? A simple question that takes away any preconceived notion that you have of what providing a supportive environment is and actually asks the person, “what do you need from me to be your best?”
  • If you assume everyone is doing their best, you can avoid feeling disappointed or let down by another’s behaviour – the standard might not be the one you set, but it is the best that person can do at that time. You can work with them to improve it or help them move on but either way – it’s not about you and it wasn’t personal.

‘Dare to Lead’ is all about authenticity leadership – and if you’re looking to fine tune your leadership skills and learn how to create a culture of high-performance and authenticity, while developing a habit of continuous learning as a leader, it may be worthwhile checking out our upcoming Authentic Leadership Summit 2020.

Taking place on 17-20 March, Australia’s top CEOs and MDs will help you develop your leadership through authenticity, openness, and trust. Tickets for this highly anticipated summit are available here.