Brené Brown is an American research professor in The Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston and continues her excellent work towards improving the lives of people in her work, Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. Grounded in scientific research that surveyed 150 global C-suite executives, Brown’s findings are rich and relatable. Mary Beth Albright, a writer for the Washington Post in her review of the book says, “it is an absorbingly actionable handbook on creating a space for better work and more fulfilled people. If readers can muster the courage to follow the research, it could create better cultures in our organizations — government included.” I could not agree more and enjoyed Brown’s writing style as well as the information delivered and will be rereading it with our entire Next Gen Team over the summer.
The thesis of the book centers around the understanding of the power of courage and the strength that can be found in your willingness to embrace vulnerability. From her understanding of two decades of research on the power of vulnerability and shame, she presents clear strategies that can help you become a more effective leader that supports your team through the understanding of human emotions. From this standpoint, Brown and Haidt worked well together and brought even more clarity that in leadership is not about being right but doing right. What I mean is that we may not always agree with the right way forward, but how we interact while trying to figure that out is as important as the outcome.
This past Tuesday during our mid-week service there was a moment during our dialogue where I got to recount a part of my testimony that most of the church had not heard. The point that we were discussing had to do with the issue of same-sex marriage and how to approach it. I’m not trying to bring up a deep theological conversation here on this blog and neither was I on Tuesday but in my journey to Christ it was not the “message”, the “worship”, the “arts” that keep me coming back it was the relationship and way that I was treated that did. To be honest, I did not understand anything “those” people were doing I just knew I “felt” different (accepted) when I was around them, and I wanted that feeling as much as possible. How does that relate to our Tuesday conversation, well the point I made was at the end of the day, we are all human beings, and people need to feel accepted, even if we do not agree with them because change never happens outside of a relationship.
Brene Brown’s 16 traits of Daring Leadership emphasized this understanding but particularly number 11, Acknowledging, Naming, And Normalizing Collective Fear and Uncertainty. As I leader and through this reading I am learning that when fear shows up acceptance goes down. What I mean is because we are in fight or flight mode, we are not open to seeing new possibilities. We live in complex times, and we must remember that “complexity is about getting our heads around what is possible (because anything could happen) rather than what is probably going to happen (which is determined from what has happened before).” Therefore by, Acknowledging, Naming, And Normalizing Collective Fear and Uncertainty, we diffuse or at least dial back the emotions involved to allow curiosity to continue to thrive in complex times which is a key to Spirit-led leadership.
 Albright, Mary Beth. 2018. “Brené Brown Knows What Makes a Great Leader – and Most Politicians Wouldn’t Make the Cut.” The Washington Post. WP Company. October 16, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/brene-brown-knows-what-makes-a-great-leader–and-most-politicians-wouldnt-make-the-cut/2018/10/15/876433ac-c7fa-11e8-b1ed-1d2d65b86d0c_story.html?utm_term=.69ead7c50f91.
 Brene Brown, Dare to Lead (New York: Random House, 2018), 76-114.
 Berger, Jennifer Garvey. Simple Habits for Complex Times (p. 11). Stanford University Press. Kindle Edition.