Leading means stepping out of your comfort zone

First published almost three years ago, Brene Brown’s bestseller is not your typical business book. Dare to Lead presents an alternative view on what leaders can be today. It sums up what many people at the top do to succeed.

Here are some of the things you’ll learn from the book:

  1. It’s okay to be human. People see leaders as aloof beings who are only concerned with the bottom line. Organizational heads tend to perpetuate this truth when they consciously distance themselves from their subordinates. Increasing engagement doesn’t mean losing one’s authority or building familiarity. When leaders tear down walls that separate them, employees are more likely to identify with them.
  2. Lead with courage. Leaders make mistakes, but the best ones admit and take responsibility for them.  It also takes courage to follow a new course when the business environment demands it. Courage is also required when leaders let their guard down. It’s never a show of weakness to show emotion or practice empathy.  Employees look up to their superiors during difficult times. When they are unsure of the outcome, leaders exhibit bravery and face challenges head-on.
  3. Lead by your values. Authentic leaders exhibit their beliefs through their words and actions. They remain steadfast when making difficult decisions, regardless of the consequences.  They can lose their popularity but not their integrity. Employees may sometimes disagree with their leaders. But they’ll continue to respect them.
  4. Listen more. How can people trust leaders who do not communicate with them? Memos, e-mails, newsletters, and announcements have their place in organizations. These are one way, however.

    People at the top should go out of their way to spend time listening to their employees.  Communication is two-way in successful organizations. Leaders engage in dialogues more than monologues. They want to hear others’ opinions because they may learn from them.

  5. Be vulnerable. Perhaps this is the core theme of Ms. Brown’s book. People should express more emotions to show their true selves. Leading by example, leaders encourage their employees to be more honest in the workplace. Being vulnerable doesn’t mean taking advantage of other people. It means not being afraid of judgment or criticism.

When there’s a culture of authenticity, employees become more comfortable with being themselves at work.  There’s an openness that makes communication less difficult and ideas more free-flowing.

One of the hurdles organizations face is the lack of human connections. People are unable to communicate openly and include others in conversations. Maybe leaders can try a different approach by encouraging a bit of vulnerability in the workplace. They might accomplish more than they expected by doing so.

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