“And what he greatly thought, he nobly dared.” Homer
Many of the leadership gurus and best selling authors these days communicate a variation on a theme by Stephen Covey:
“Trust is equal parts character and competence. You can look at any leadership failure and it’s always a failure of one or another.”
Many of these books do a great job putting leadership into perspective. But, how many of them provoke a call to take personal action?
Scott Weiss, President and CEO of SpeakEasy Inc., lives by the mantra, “Make your word good – and be as good as your word.” He is author of an excellent book called DARE: Accepting the Challenge of Trusting Leadership.
Given so much distrust among American consumers these days, Weiss passionately dares the reader “to go against the grain of business as usual and to DARE YOURSELF TO BE HONEST.” He begs some thoughtful questions that challenge us to think and act like a modern-day leader:
What if we lived in a world where –
– Leadership communication was devoid of euphemisms, buzzwords, and spin?
– Leaders stood on a platform of honest and transparent communication?
– Leaders connect emotionally to colleagues, clients, and consumers? Each of the eight chapters shed light on the challenges leaders face and conclude with a DARE to the reader: Starting with chapter one – “I dare you to be honest. To be authentic. To return transparency to your business and personal communication.”
The core of Weiss’ message is rooted in biology. Leaders are human. In order to lead, we must connect with others in a way they can relate to us. That includes being vulnerable, emotional, and owning up to the challenges we face even when we don’t have all the answers.
One page in the book (page 69) summed up the heart and soul of DARE and underscores the provocation Weiss is asking us to accept:
“As leaders, we need reminding that the ability to feel, and feel deeply, is not a weakness, but the hallmark of a fully mature individual.”
“Emotions are the fuel for behavioral change. They ignite our thoughts, transforming the way we act and speak, putting the power into persuasion, the energy into our mission, and the passion into our work.”
“Emotions are not obstacles, but critical elements of their success. Our own vulnerability is our most valuable human asset.”
I am so taken by the book’s message, DARE will be required reading in my freshmen Principles of Leadership class. I will also assign it to clients as an exercise is self-awareness, the first part of a life-long leadership journey.
This is a powerful and compelling book. Read it, digest it, and become the very essence of what the book articulates.
For more from Chuck Garcia go to his blog @ climbleadership.com