In her book Dare to Lead, Brene Brown describes 10 behaviours and cultural issues that leaders, in her research, identified as getting in our way in organisations across the world.
I have chosen behaviour number 7 as a starting point for this blog because I believe this behaviour is not only affecting organisations but is how sections of the global population is choosing who to follow.
Behaviour number 7 “People are opting out of vital conversations about diversity and inclusivity because they fear looking wrong saying something wrong or being wrong choosing our own comfort overheard conversations is the epitome of privilege and it corrodes trust and moves us away from meaningful and lasting change.”
In some ways this behaviour could be seen as being at the root of the backlash against progressive values and ethics. Those, for example, who feel privileged by the colour of their skin find talk of racism uncomfortable. They look for leaders who reflect their views and relieve them of the need to lean in and confront their discomfort about how they think and behave in the face of challenges to their thoughts and behaviour. Uncharacteristically perhaps, I am not going to blame the leaders.
As Kathia Castro Laszlo says in her article, “From systems thinking to systems being: the embodiment of evolutionary leadership”, our obsession with how leaders behave leads us to forget that in essence we are all both leaders and followers. Our behaviour as followers is as important as the behaviours of the leaders we choose. Our own choices as followers is also a form of leadership because in our communities, we set a standard, an example for others to follow. As such I have decided to lead, to set my own example as both a follower and a leader
I am answering a call to action embedded in Brene Browns book- that is we all need to dare to lead, not just stand on the side-lines and criticise or condemn others. Today I am launching a new Twitter account called ‘Leadership for Wellbeing’ my decision to do this comes from my own discomfort with the way in which wellbeing is shaping some aspects of public policy and practice particularly in the field of education. I do this as someone who provides wellbeing coaching in schools. The question – Is the focus on wellbeing being used to teach us to adapt too toxic conditions rather than to change those conditions. Stopping us from dealing with root causes. Stopping us from creating the conditions under which we will all flourish? I begin my PhD study around this issue on October 1st 2019 at Leeds Beckett University School of Education and this account will also chart that journey.
The aim of this account is to grow and establish a community, an e-institute, of collective thought and action in pursuit of policies and practices that support human flourishing in all aspects of life. It will be a space to share research experiences and debate differences of opinion in order to develop some deep understandings that will guide thoughtful actions that lead to sustainable change.
Join the conversation. Share this with anyone you think will relish the challenge and want to contribute to this endeavour.
Use the #Leadership4wellbeing whenever you join the conversation share thoughts, content and invite others to join.