Bravery is not the absence of fear. It is choosing to do what’s right over our one’s comfort. Courage requires skill that begins with understanding what it means to be vulnerable.
Like many, I’m deeply saddened yet energized by our nation’s current state of unrest. The compounding effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and the tipping point of systemic oppression have come to a head. BUT change is making its way. No one is immune to the tensions, discomfort, and collective pain that change brings. However, in these shifts, and in the complexity of these times, leaders at every level can take part in building brave workspaces.
What does this look like? Senior leaders, your folks need to hear from you. At the very least, be willing to listen and listen deeply. Remaining silent and pretending that the elephant isn’t in the room doesn’t create peace or trust. If anything, choosing neutrality and being silent sends an apathetic message, which is much louder than words.
In my research on millennials’ work perceptions, one theme was made clear. Among top considerations of one’s intent to remain with an employer, the millennial worker wants to know his/her employer cares about them at the person-level AND the world at large.
Taking time to listen and creating space for people to be seen and heard is the best form of social responsibility leaders can provide right now. Don’t worry—if you haven’t taken this step yet, it’s not too late. If your conversations come from an honest place, laced with curiosity, a simple question, such as, “What are you experiencing?” can be an open-door for insight and building trust.
Systemic reform is a long game. It will take a heck of a lot of honest conversations, but we need skill to do this. The problem I’m seeing is that a lot of leaders buy into truth over harmony. But in fact, this approach is often a contradiction of integrity. We need to be able to speak up and have honest conversations about race and equality. Here’s the catch: Before we ask others to be vulnerable, we need to model this first.
Conditions will likely get crazier before they get better. But here are three actions you’ll want to take now:
1. Start investing in brave work for your people. We need to go beyond just book reading and dropping definitions. We need to dig deep and do our own work.
2. Listen and create space for people to be seen and heard. This is where we build bridges and how relationships are made.
3. You don’t have to do this perfectly, but you have to do something. Your actions give others hope and permission to navigate the way forward.
If any of these concepts strike a cord or you want to learn more about how to grow brave skills within your team, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Aloha, and be well.