What does it mean to be a brave leader? This is our 10th installment in our HumansFirst series of heart-to-heart discussions on what it means to live, love, lead, and work in a
Being your authentic self
For many, authenticity means “I get to be what I want to be and it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks.” But from a leadership perspective, it really does matter what people think and how they experience you. Authenticity is in the eye of the beholder, and the way Kimberly thinks of authenticity is: if we were seated together, would you experience this leader — from your lens — as someone who is genuine and worthy of your trust? Are they someone you can rely upon and believe in? Because that is what is going to allow them to lead and influence others.
How are you truly connecting with the human beings you’re trying to lead?
Leading in a humans first kind of way
Humans first is really about cultivating humanity in the workplace and bringing the whole person to work. So brave leadership is about bringing your best, most authentic and powerful self to every situation that you face, so that you can connect to the hearts of your team members, and be someone they don’t have to follow, but want to follow.
The traditional definition of bravery is to face and endure danger or pain. But you can’t work with that mindset. Kimberly reframes bravery as being her best, most authentic, and powerful self: the Kimberly she is when she is being respectful, responsible, and mindful, who pays attention to what other people need from her. It is stepping into your own power, that is, your ability to create change based on how you show up in the world.
We need leaders who are willing to take responsibility for the impact that they make in the situations that they face, and on the lives that they’re leading. We need leaders who are able to connect to the humanity in front of them.
Your best self
Your best self is you at your most positive and your most effective. It’s who you are when you’re at your very best — not who you’re told you should be. Your best self is your best you.
A caveat: many people will say “I’m just being myself” as an excuse for pretty crazy behavior. But if it’s hurtful to someone, it’s not your best self.
Qualities of a leader
One of the most important things a leader can do is see the possibilities in others that they may not even see in themselves. That bridges the confidence in their ability to do things greater than they didn’t even think they were capable of doing, and allows us to lift each other up and rise together.
You have the ability to have an impact in every situation that you face. So the question you should be asking yourself is: what impact do I want to have?
The comparison trap
When you feel yourself comparing yourself to others, remember: you matter simply because you’re you. Not because of anything you’ve done or achieved, but because of how you show up in the world and the impact that you make.
So take one small step toward having the impact that you want to have. One small action. Don’t think about the whole world, think about this moment right now. Who are you with? How can you make an impact on them? How do you want them to feel about their work, or what’s possible?
Heart and soul cannot be commoditized
You can mandate someone to come in to work, but you can’t mandate that they’re going to do it with excellence. You can’t mandate that they’re going to do it with care. You can’t mandate that they’re going to give it everything they’ve got. That’s something they get to choose, and if that’s something you want from people, you can’t treat it like it’s an exchange. It’s a gift they’re giving you, and they have to want to give it. What you can do is create the environment and the opportunity that allows them to flourish.
Want to grow as a HumansFirst leader and connect in meaningful conversations with other HumansFirst leaders?
Join me for the HumansFirst Book Club, where we do a deep dive into a book a month and often engage the authors in conversation.
Resources for Kimberly Davis
#BraveMoment Twitter Chat (8pm Central, Tuesday Nights)