We are all leaders

We are all leaders, we all have people looking at us, modeling from us and learning from us. In these times of crisis this is amplified. So what does it mean to be a leader, especially in times of crisis?

Brene Brown has a wonderful book called: Dare to Lead. I am hoping by shedding some light on some of the pieces of her work you will be able to identify your own ways on how to be a healthy leader right now, and what you possibly can work on for yourself to show up the best way possible. 

Brene discusses the many different things that get in the way of daring and courageous leadership. Below are just a few of those ways that may be getting in our way now and what we can do to bring awareness and work through these: 

  1. We avoid hard conversations 
    1. Right now many of us are avoiding the conversation around fear, grief and loss that we are all experiencing in this pandemic. We often fear that the more we talk about these unpleasant things the more we will get stuck in them. Through Brene’s research, she has shown the opposite is true. 
    2. Remedy? The more that we can sit, listen and be in the fear of ourselves and of others, validate experiences and give empathy and compassion towards them and ourselves the more we can move forward, together in reality. 
  2. “Too much shame and blame, not enough accountability and learning” (Brown, 2018)
    1. I sat with this to try and re-word it, and for me Brene’s words hit the nail on the head. We are sitting in a lot of shame and blame, blame towards certain sets of people for causing the virus, blame towards people who get the virus. Shame and blame are often ways that we move out of our own unpleasant feelings by putting them onto someone else. 
    2. Remedy? Accountability and learning, ask yourself why am I engaging in shame and blame towards others? What is going on with me? While you may have reason to be upset with others it is more important for us to understand what that is kicking up in us first, when we can validate and give compassion towards ourselves, we will more likely be able to lead in healthier conversations with others that we are struggling with. People change through compassion, not aggression. 
  3. Through losing connection and empathy we have less and less trust with one another 
    1. These are hard times, we are struggling with connection because we aren’t able to be around each other. It is becoming easier and easier to disengage, to blame through social media. This is building our lack of trust in anyone, without trust and connection and empathy people cannot hear you, even if your information is valuable. 
    2. Remedy? Engage in more connection and empathy to build trust, then move back to point number one and start having hard conversations in a vulnerable and open way. 

Brene states: “Self awareness and self-love matter. Who we are is how we lead” 

My last reminder, in this time we are all leaders, it is up to you to decide what kind of leader you want to be. You won’t be perfect, I’m not perfect, no one can expect us to be. All we can do is continue to grow our self awareness to lead in the more empathetic and connection filled way possible. 

If you need help increasing your self-awareness, and embracing the fear of vulnerability, reach out. 

Patrice Flanagan-Morris
Empowerment Within LLC

Posters and Quote Cards | Brené Brown

Resources: Brown, B. (2018). Dare to lead: Brave work. Tough conversations. Whole hearts. New York: Random House.

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