By Christine George
I have a girl crush on Brené Brown.
It’s true, I have a girl crush on Brené Brown. She epitomizes everything I dare to be in every aspect of my life; brave, courageous and willing to get my ass kicked in the arena.
Today she was featured in a Q&A session with Marie Rosecrans from Salesforce on their new Stories of Resilience series. You can watch the replay here. The discussion was focused on small and medium businesses and strategies for navigating through our current environment.
Brené reminded us as leaders in this COVID environment, whenever we are talking to our employees or our customers, we need to ask ourselves:
1. Is our tone, right?
2. Are we being honest and transparent?
3. Are we being of service?
I’m not sure about you but we’ve certainly struggled with how to balance our desire to be empathetic with our desire to be helpful and our need to continue to move the business forward.
Brené recommends that leaders be explicit. She says, communicate your goal, let people know you want to give them the space they need to recalibrate, and make sure they know you're here. Then ask, “What does good timing look like for you?”
She went on to remind us that courage is measured by people’s ability to be vulnerable, and to be vulnerable we need to be curious, ask questions, reward people who speak openly about setbacks and mistakes, and thank people when they practice this.
She goes on to say that armor gets in the way of courageous leadership. When we’re afraid, we want to armor up (self-protect), and if we want to be brave leaders, we have to double down on transparency and vulnerability. We have to take down the armor. The armor, she says, will move us away from our mission.
One way to practice this is be the learner and be focused on getting it right. Be the leader who says, “I don’t know but here’s what we’re doing based on the data we have right now.”
Another way, is to practice gratitude every day. She acknowledges that his feels counterintuitive. Leaders feel like it will slow the sense of urgency but the data says gratitude does not slow down the sense of urgency. It actually helps people double down on it.
She says, "Gratitude is a daily practice and it will fundamentally rearrange your life.” Brené opens every meeting with her team with a gratitude practice.
Brené finished the session by sharing that when this is over there will be far more trauma than we expect. We need to put services in place and do some collective healing.
She added that, during crisis we see the lines and the cracks but we also see the muscles. We’re building muscle memory right now about who we want to be.