Friday, August 9, 2013
Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit--Dr. Brene Brown
I study vulnerability and what it means to be human. I want to do something different here today. I want to talk about something more primitive--the irreducible needs of men, women, and children. These are non-negotiable--
--Love and belonging -- in the absence of love and belonging there is always suffering
Three basic needs
--need to be seen and loved
--need to belong
--need to be brave
Connection is why we're here. We're neurologically wired for it. If we don't understand those needs I don't think we can lead.
Love is messy; love is tough, gritty
13,000 pieces of data in my career and came up with this definition
Love: We cultivate love when we allow ourselves to be seen and known and when we honor that in another person with trust, kindness, and respect. It's not something we give or get; it's something we grow and nurture; it is cultivated between two people only when there is self-love present in both.
Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows.
Lessons for Leadership:
Growth through connection--love isn't something we do ourselves; you don't have all the answers; Leaders are not all-knowing and all-powerful. What a leader does is model the courage to ask the questions. It's not our job to have the answers.
We can't give what we don't have--"Lookin' for love in all the wrong places"; we can't give people courage or a sense of belonging when we don't have it; we can't give people permission to ask for grace when we don't have it or give it to ourselves; we can't give help when we can't ask for it; When you feel judgment for asking for help you are, by default, always judging when you offer help because you have attached judgment to needing help; One way judgment shows up is when we derive our self-worth from being a helper
Professing vs. practice -- When you are engaged in non-loving behaviors you are not practicing love. Saying you love someone isn't the same as the practice of love. The space between what we practice every day and our aspirational values (love, respect, faith) is where we lose people. That's where we lose people. We're looking for people who practice love all messy and gritty.
What kills love kills organization; Shame, Betrayal, Disprespect, Blame, Withholding-- Assessing an organization for shame is like doing a termite assessment. Shame can only rise to a certain level in organizations before people disengage to self-protect. If you can see shame in an organization like gossip, favoritism, connecting self-worth to production -- these are desperate problems.
The value of failure--talked with a venture capitalist who says they don't fund anyone who hasn't failed at least 3 times for $1 million or more. Need to show they don't have fear of failure. Without failure there can be no innovation.
Blame--How many are blamers? Blame is defined in research as "the simple discharging of pain and discomfort" Blame has nothing to do with accountability and is toxic in organizations.
Disrespect--Asked in 'exit interviews' what is the #1 reason for leaving? -- lack of feedback. Feedback is a function of respect. When we don't have vulnerable honest conversations with people they feel unseen. The problem with feedback is you can't be good with feedback unless you are willing to be vulnerable. One of the reasons we don't engage in it is because it is so uncomfortable.
Belonging vs. fitting in--What emerged as the #1 barrier to belonging? Fitting in. You have to make a space in your organizations for people to show up and be seen for who they are. We are desperate to be seen. We can build intimacy around a common enemy even if we don't know one another. If you give people a place to show up where they believe they belong but can be themselves you respect them. We can't put conditions on belonging because belonging is not a luxury for us.
Be Brave--Never in our lives do we feel more alive than when we are being brave. After the TED talk (an interview she did that went viral) I had a 'vulnerability hangover' and didn't get out of bed for several days. I am an introvert and very private so everyone told me not to get online and read comments....so I went online and read the comments. Every leader can think of several things people could say that would be so painful that you would change yourself not to hear them. Those comments for me were everything I had been afraid to hear.
Read quote from Theodore Roosevelt that changed her life: It ends, "if he fails at least fails daring greatly."
You can choose courage or you can have comfort but you cannot have both. They are mutually exclusive. If faith is part of who you are, there are two things you need to take into the arena--
1) Clarity of values
2) Someone who loves you BECAUSE of your imperfections who will pick you up and say "that sucked, but you were brave."
If you are not in the arena also getting your butt kicked on a regular basis I am not interested in your feedback. As the world has grown the number of cheap seats has grown. We need to be contributing more than we are criticizing.
Vulnerability is dangerous and scary but not as terrifying as getting to the end of our lives and having to ask, "What if I had shown up?"
Posted by Kathy Schriefer at 9:34 AM