For over two decades, our diverse teams have represented product lines that offer clients technological and innovative medical solutions. In my experience leading teams, I’ve learned the value of Executive coaching (more content in September’s post) as well as the importance of learning from others in the field of innovation and inspiration. If you’re invested in improving your own well-being – and the well-being of employees within your organization, exploring the work of Dr. Brené Brown is a must. It’s hard to imagine some have not heard of Dr. Brené Brown’s research.  She’s a professor at the University of Houston and someone who has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy.  Her TED Talk – The Power of Vulnerability – is one of the top five most viewed TED Talks in the world with over 45 million views.  She’s the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers including her latest book, Dare to LeadIn her publication, she shares what it means to “dare greatly” and lead with courage among other insights.  In a world where fear can wreak havoc within an organization, what can executives (and high-potential future leaders) learn from Brown’s research conducted with top change makers and edgy culture shifters?

A leader is defined as anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes and has the courage to develop that potential. In Brown’s book, Dare to Lead, she shares ideas around the importance of leaders shedding what she refers to as “self-protection” armor.  Brown explains the importance of leading with wholeheartedness (integrating different aspects of yourself with the roles and responsibilities you accept). She identifies the enemy of wholeheartedness as ego, which craves validation and attention. When something threatens ego and self-worth, some experience feelings of shame. When some leaders experience shame, they add a layer of armor in an effort to lock down emotions to protect themselves.  Brown suggests top leaders are capable of shedding that armor and replacing shame with fortitude.  In Dare to Lead, I found her explanation of “armored vs. daring” leadership interesting and wanted to share Brown’s ideas with not only the internal #ZBRXMedical leadership team but with others open to leaning into courage and taking more risks to lead differently.   

“Leadership is not about titles or the corner office. It’s about the willingness to step up, put yourself out there, and lean into courage. The world is desperate for braver leaders. It’s time for all of us to step up.” – Dr. Brené Brown

Armored Leadership
Brown cites the characteristics of armored leadership (those who attempt to protect themselves) as: perfectionism and fear of failure, withholding recognition, and numbing emotions with escapist activities such as immersion in social media, shopping, video games or alternative vices. Other traits are a win/lose mind-set, the need to be right, cynicism, criticism and the exploitation of power. Armored leaders exercise top-down control according to Brown. They manipulate uncertainty, demand a 24/7 work ethic, tolerate discrimination and exclusion as well as avoid tough conversations and situations.

Daring Leadership
In contrast, Brown shares that daring leadership includes striving for excellence rather than demanding perfection, recognizing and celebrating accomplishments, and developing strategies to manage anxiety and renew positive mindsets. Daring leaders admit what they don’t know and practice kindness and empathy. Daring leaders aren’t afraid to help team members understand how their contributions add value and move the company’s mission forward. Daring leaders recognize the importance of personal time and renewal.

I’d like to challenge today’s leaders (and anyone reading this post) to consider if you have honestly been leading with more of an armored or daring approach.  If you’re interested in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your team, I encourage you to explore more of Dr. Brené Brown work (and other authors, speakers, and leaders interested in evolving the way work is done in our modern culture).  If you agree that knowledge is power, what steps will you take to empower yourself with more information to lead others confidently and commit to transforming your leadership and growth strategy ahead?

Brandon Rouse, CEO of ZB RX Medical

 Brandon Rouse leads a diverse and growing team of professionals who are well-versed in the challenges faced in healthcare today. With an extremely experienced team, covering all caseloads from trauma and limb salvage to biologics and robotic surgical platforms, patients benefit from the solutions his team offers. Learn more at ZB RX Medical.