I read a lot about leadership and I believe with my whole heart that we all have the capacity to lead.
I’m also an advocate for reading. So much so, that we have a tiny little book club going at Brains on Fire and we reward reading books with cold hard cash.
We really do.
My latest reading has been so much fun as I prepare to attend the Leadership Seminar at the Aspen Institute. So grateful for this opportunity to grow and learn. The reading materials for this seminar have been some of the most insightful, emotional and intriguing ever. For instance, when was the last time you read The Declaration of Independence? Or Martin Luther King’s Letters from a Birmingham Jail. Let’s just say I cried.
Okay, sobbed. I’ll share more with you after my time in Aspen this month.
On top of all that “homework’ and prep, I’ve also been reading Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly.
On page 211 she quotes from Seth Godin’s book, Tribes; We Need to You Lead Us:
“Leadership is scarce because few people are willing to go through the discomfort required to lead. This scarcity makes leadership valuable. …It’s uncomfortable to stand up in front of strangers. It’s uncomfortable to propose an idea that might fail. It’s uncomfortable to challenge the status quo. It’s uncomfortable to resist the urge to settle. When you identify the discomfort, you’ve found the place where a leader is needed. If you’re not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it’s almost certain you’re not reaching your potential as a leader.”
Brene goes on to list the phases you hear often in a healthy organization; one that is full of vulnerability and encourages courageous leadership:
I don’t know.
I need help.
I’d like to give it a shot.
It’s important to me.
I disagree – can we talk about it?
It didn’t work, but I learned a lot.
Yes, I did it.
Here’s how I feel.
I’d like some feedback.
Can I get your take on this?
What can I do better next time?
Can you teach me how to do this?
I played a part in that.
I accept responsibility for that.
I am here for you.
I want to help.
Let’s move on.
That means a lot to me.
So. Are you living up to your own potential or are you always looking for someone else to fill the leadership void?
Are you modeling this kind of behavior? Do you hear these words in your organization often enough? Are you cultivating a company of courageous leaders? Are you leading with courage?