On Leadership: Brene Brown, PhD

 

Relationships and Story. There are a host of insightful and provocative ideas one could extract from researcher and storyteller Brené Brown’s books and TED Talks (link to her breakout talk on vulnerability), but what strikes me as the most useful for small business owners and entrepreneurs – not to mention anyone responsible for driving change and growth in a large organization – is the central, elemental role of relationship and story to brand and culture building, and ultimately revenue creation. Humans are interconnected, complex beings: our longing to connect with each other and to our own selves is more powerful than any externally dictated command or motivation. According to research, the human mind is wired to seek stories: we even get a dopamine rush when we hear a beginning, a middle, and an end. So if you’re wondering about the power and efficacy of a persuasive brand story, don’t be!

The most transformative and resilient leaders that I’ve worked with over the course of my career have three things in common: First, they recognize the central role that relationships and story play in culture and strategy, and they stay curious about their own emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Second, they understand and stay curious about how emotions, thoughts, and behaviors are connected in the people they lead, and how those factors affect relationships and perception. And, third, they have the ability and willingness to lean in to discomfort and vulnerability.