Honesty and Courageous Leadership

I have to admit, I’m honest to a fault.  Honesty was something that was instilled in me since I can remember, it has become one of my core values, a value embedded so deep that I can’t imagine behaving any other way.  Honesty is why organizations hire me.  They hire me to have those tough but honest conversations that no one is comfortable having.  To me, honesty is easy.  It’s a strength that leaves no one guessing what I’m thinking, saying, or what I mean by what I say.  I often ask myself why it’s so difficult for people to just be honest?  Then I started reading Dare to Lead by Brené Brown, and I found my answer.

Honesty requires courage, bravery, and the willingness to be vulnerable.  And to be honest, being vulnerable is the hardest part.  When we’re vulnerable, we take off our armor and allow others to see who we really are.  As Brené Brown mentions in her book, “you can’t get to courage without rumbling with vulnerability.  Embrace the suck.”  She goes on to describe a rumble as “a discussion, conversation, or meeting defined by a commitment to lean into vulnerability, to stay curious and generous, to stick with the messy middle of problem identification and solving, to take a break and circle back when necessary, to be fearless in owning our parts.”  The foundation of being a courageous leader is the ability to rumble with vulnerability according to Brown.

Without the willingness to rumble, we are prone to fear.  When we don’t rumble and fear creeps in, we often put on our armor and begin the game of blaming, shaming, and other behaviors that include passive aggressive behavior and cynicism.  Fear isn’t the real problem, the real problem is how we respond to fear.  When we choose to rumble and become vulnerable, we open ourselves up to honest and open communication that allows for more effective problem solving and solutions that get to the heart of the issue.

I’ve only read the first few chapters of Dare to Lead, but I’ve already learned so much.  I’ve learned that the fault of being honest and courageous means that I know at some point I will fail, but I also know that I will get back up.  Courageous leaders know they will fail, get back up, and be stronger for it!

Written by guest blogger, Roberta Bemiller, Leadership Development Coach