Main article content
Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
Date: Sep 29, 2020
As it says on the tin, this book is about leadership. It doesn’t matter though if you don’t have staff in your business or don’t lead a team – the book and the ideas within it can be applied to any relationship you have, whether business or personal.
I used to work in the corporate world and attended various training sessions on leadership which were focused on “leading” staff (funnily enough!) rather than management of staff which was more task orientated. We were told that leadership was the art or skill of motivating a team to act towards achieving a common goal and helping them to set direction.
What those training sessions didn’t teach me, is that there is more to being a leader than just the practical skills of leadership. And it is this that Brené covers in her book “Dare to Lead”. From the title, you can tell that it is going to be a bit of a journey and that leading people is not just an easy skill that you can learn. To be good at it, you need to push yourself and have the courage to “dare” to do it…
Studying leadership is way easier than leading
One of the things I was often told in my corporate leadership roles, was that I wore my heart on my sleeve and showed too much emotion. I shouldn’t let my team see me being vulnerable because it showed a weakness and they might not respect me for it. However, “rumbling with vulnerability” is one of the things that Brené positively embraces. She doesn’t see vulnerability as a weakness (as I was told) but instead a sign of courage. She talks about courage being a collection of four skill sets:
- Rumbling with vulnerability
- Living into our values
- Bracing trust
- Learning to rise
Without going into detail on each of these areas, essentially the common theme throughout the book is to show that we are human by working on and accepting each of those skill sets. By accepting who we are as individuals through self-awareness and showing self-love we can show “humanness” to the people we work with, whether that’s staff in our own business or clients we work with or our supported network. By being kind to ourselves, in turn, we can show compassion and empathy towards others.
One of the other things Brené addresses in Dare to Lead, is that often behaviours and cultural issues get in the way of being a good leader. For example, avoiding tough conversations, becoming defined by setbacks or failures, or lack of accountability. Many of us will recognise these behaviours in ourselves or others – I will put my hand up and admit that I’ve been known to beat myself up when something goes wrong! The key thing though is that it’s ok to talk about hard things, it’s good to communicate and tackle tough subjects together. By being open and honest with ourselves and with others, it allows a safe environment in which to help build courage and shows that you can be a great leader.
At Troy Accounting, I believe that we already apply many of the principles as communicated in the book. We are passionate about living our values because they are behind the very purpose of our business. The relationships with our team, clients and trusted network are one of the most important things to us and by having open, honest conversations with each other, and with our clients we help build that trust. We allow ourselves and each other to “rumble with vulnerability” by showing empathy and talking things through. And we are learning to rise every day, by being brave and building our resilience.
It’s unusual for me, but I must admit that I found the book a little hard-going in the way it was written and I got a bit bogged down in some of the examples and in the descriptions. Don’t let that put you off though!! It’s worth a read, or if you prefer, watch some of Brené Brown’s TED Talks because she’s a fantastic speaker..
Overall I loved the premise of the book and the openness it inspired – especially based on my experiences in the corporate world, it made me realise that it’s ok to be me!!! After all, that’s one of the best bits about me joining Helen at Troy and us running our own business – it’s all about being true to ourselves.
When we have the courage to walk in our story and own it, we get to write the ending