Are You Ready to Dare Greatly and be a Wholehearted Leader?

I’m really taken with Dr. Brene’ Brown lately.  Brene' is a researcher, social scientist, popular TED speaker, and author, her most recent book being, "Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead."

There are a lot of places we could go in discussing Dr. Brown, her own journey, the focus of her work (shame and resilience,) and all of this in relation to leadership.

A Leadership Manifesto

Brene' used the concepts in her books to develop one-page documents she calls "The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto" and also the "Daring Greatly Leadership Manifesto."

I think it’s important that she addresses leadership by referencing "daring greatly," her book title based on the Theodore Roosevelt quotation about the "the man in the arena." But I am especially intrigued with what she calls, “wholeheartedness,” and how it could apply to leadership.

Keep in mind she’s written pages and pages related to this, so I’m going with this brief definition for our purposes today.

Wholeheartedness - The capacity to engage in our lives with authenticity, cultivating courage and compassion.

Here are some examples from the parenting manifesto, which she titles specifically with the word "wholehearted."  She speaks as if writing to her children.

  • Above all else, I want you to know that you are loved and loveable.
  • You will learn this from my words and actions —the lessons on love are in how I treat you and how I treat myself.
  • I want you to engage with the world from a place of worthiness.

(You can find all 14 points here.)

Wholeheartedness in Leadership

What if we were to adapt the concept of wholeheartedness specifically to leadership, in our organizations, work and business?  I’m going to give this a try using the 3 points above and some of the remaining 11 points, as if written to those looking to me for leadership.

  • Above all else, I want you to know that you are valued and valuable.
  • You will learn this from my words and actions – the lessons in empowerment are in how I treat you and how I treat myself.
  • I want us to engage with the world, our clients, our constituents and each other from a place of worthiness.
  • We will practice courage in our organization by showing up, letting ourselves be seen, and honoring vulnerability. We will share our stories of struggle and strength. There will always be room for both.
  • We will practice accountability and respect. We will learn by watching each other make mistakes and make amends.
  • As we travel our wholehearted journey, the greatest gift that we can give each other is to empower our own selves with our whole hearts and to dare greatly.

I realize that by basing my adaptations on material written from a parental point of view that it can perpetuate a parental viewpoint toward employees.  That is not my intention.  I deliberately want to bring our hearts into the picture.  This is just my first take on what being a wholehearted leader could mean, because that word speaks to me.

What would it mean for you to be a wholehearted leader?

Images: Leaf by Pixabay member bea_marques

Red sky by Flickr Commons member, "that one doood"

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