Women in Remodeling Conversation Series: Exploring Daring Leadership in Organizations

Posted by: Michelle Glassburn, Executive Director of PRO New England

The Women in Remodeling Event inspired a monthly conversation series that began in early 2021. Several months into the program, the group dove into exploring the theme’s in Brene Brown’s two-part podcast on Armored versus Daring Leadership. The program challenges us, as leaders, to explore ways we can encourage people–and perhaps most importantly ourselves to bring our “whole self” to the workplace. In essence, by fracturing oneself and attempting to maintain a workplace version of our personality, we spend precious effort and energy trying to meet those norms and expectations. Rather, if encourage employees to show up authentically, they can spend their effort on rising to their fullest potential. But therein lies the challenge.

When we create workplaces that allow people to fully trust that they can show up as their true selves, we must be prepared for the times when there is discord. In the podcast, Brown talks about the key ways that we put up “armor” when we lead during times of discord and challenges us to instead pursue “daring” leadership. Daring leadership is characterized by:

  1. Knowing versus learning–an environment where leaders listen more than they talk
  2. Skilling up and leaning into tough conversations
  3. Emphasizing accountability and empathy versus a culture of shame and blame

When we create an environment with this type of daring leadership that works to meet each person where they are and grow from there, there is a culture that creates trust, inspires courage, and can grow to its fullest potential.

In our next session, we examined the second part of Brown’s series on daring leadership. This session expanded on the themes of the first and delved into the culture of shame and blame. She repeatedly visits the notion of trouble in an organization “behind the walls.” Ultimately, these are the hidden cultural norms in an organization that erode trust, limit courage, and prevent people from being their “real” self at work. The examples highlight cues to look for when there is trouble and brings us back to the notion that they must be owned, tackled head-on, and rejected. In the end, the goal for daring leaders is to create environments that are person-centric rather than company-centric and foster a culture of trust that nurtures the growth of each individual.

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