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Podcast Ep. 32: Christy Erbeck on Courageous Leadership


Episode Description:

Today’s episode of the Agile Coaches’ Corner podcast is centered around courageous leadership, which is based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown and her Dare to Lead™ program. Your host, Dan Neumann, will be exploring this topic today with Christy Erbeck, a Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator (CDTLF). Christy is also a principal transformation consultant at AgileThought, with over 25 years of experience in domestic and international consulting, training and coaching, working in both software development and non-product-focused environments, including manufacturing (discrete and process), distribution, and sales and marketing.

Through Dr. Brené Brown’s teachings, Christy Erbeck gives a thorough look at why courageous leadership is so important, how to practice it personally and professionally in your workplace, and what happens when you practice it, as well as what happens when you don’t practice it as a leader. She also highlights the four skillsets of courage, which are:

  • RUMBLING with Vulnerability
  • LIVING into Our Values
  • BRAVING Trust
  • LEARNING to Rise

A lack of these skills creates barriers to courage that keep people from ‘showing up,’ and Christy shares many tips on how you can begin becoming a more courageous leader starting today.

Listen on Google Play Music


Key Takeaways:

  • Why is courageous leadership important?
    • Because many people are afraid to have courageous conversations or speak the truth due to feeling like they may offend someone or that their opinion doesn’t matter
    • Allows you to get to the truth of the conversation
  • How to practice courageous leadership:
    • “Embrace the suck”
    • Stick to what you’re doing and RUMBLE with Vulnerability
    • Be willing to have a real conversation even if it’s tough
    • Practice self-awareness and self-love (because who we are is how we lead)
    • Become more self-aware and work to remove the barriers to courage
    • Choose courage over comfort
    • Choose what’s right over what’s fast or easy
    • Scale courage by simply being courageous (a courageous leader is contagious)
  • What happens as a leader when you don’t practice being courageous and vulnerable:
    • Your armor goes up, you stay on the defensive and you may lash out at others
    • You miss out on deep and meaningful connections with others
    • You can be short or harsh in your responses
    • You will not be setting a good example for your team
  • Barriers to courage that keep people from ‘showing up’:
    • Shame and blame
    • Perfectionism
    • Fears and feelings
    • Lack of inclusivity, diversity and equity
  • How shame can show up in the workplace:
    • Shame comes up when comparisons are made of one person to another
    • When we’re willing to talk about someone and not to them
    • When we use power over someone or discriminate against them
  • The four skillsets of courage:
    1. RUMBLING with Vulnerability (continually lean into vulnerability and ‘rumble’ with it)
    2. LIVING into Our Values (find alignment with your top values into the work that you’re doing)
    3. BRAVING Trust (B-boundaries, R-reliability, A-accountability, V-vault, I-integrity, N-non-judgement and G-generosity)
    4. LEARNING to Rise (be willing to do what it takes and continually come back)



Mentioned in this Episode:



Intro: [00:03] Welcome to The Agile Coaches’ Corner by AgileThought. The podcast for practitioners and leaders seeking advice to refine the way they work and pave the path to better outcomes. Now, here’s your host, coach and agile expert, Dan Neumann.

Dan Neumann: [00:16]  Welcome to this episode of the Agile Coaches’ Corner podcast. I’m your host, Dan Neumann. Thank you for listening. Before we get into the content, just a quick reminder that what you’re going to hear are the opinions of the people who are participating in the podcast and not necessarily those of AgileThought, other companies or other people. And for today we’re going to be covering the topic of courageous leadership, which is based on the research of Doctor Brené Brown and her Dare to Lead™ program. I’ll be exploring that with my colleague, Christy Erbeck, who is a Certified Dare to Lead™ facilitator. Thanks for joining Christy.

Christy Erbeck: [00:54]  Thanks for having me, Dan.

Dan Neumann: [00:56]  Courageous leadership. Why is that important?

Christy Erbeck: [01:02]  It is so important in today’s world where I think many people are afraid to have courageous conversations and they are afraid to speak the truth, whether they feel marginalized, whether they feel that their opinion doesn’t matter or that they’re going to offend someone because their opinion is different than someone else’s. And I think it’s really important right now that we dig deep and find our inner courage to have some conversations. But either a long overdue or just unnecessary to have to keep us on an even keel.

Dan Neumann: [01:51]  And I think now, it’s so easy to be criticized by people on the internet, right. The, you know, you offended the Twitter verse and you get your got handed to you or you know, flame up on Facebook. It just, technology makes it so easy for the masses to be critical. And that’s one of the things that Doctor Brené Brown is shared and you wanted to share here as well as it’s a bit timeless with the quote from Theodore Roosevelt being the, the basis for some of the thoughts that are going to be shared. So maybe you could introduce that.

Christy Erbeck: [02:25]  Yeah, absolutely. Right. So the man in the arena is the, essentially the quote from Theater Roosevelt and it says, it is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doers or deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who’s actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement. And who at the worst if fails at least fails while daring greatly. And Brené found this quote when as she tells the story she was face down in the arena after her Ted talk had gone viral on the Internet and she was reviewing the quotes and the comments that people were making on the website about what she had done and what she had said. And really they weren’t making any comments relevant to what she said in her material. They were criticizing who she was and what she look like. And she says that this quote really pulled her out, um, out of the dust and had her look up, stand up and be willing to fight again. Um, and she also says that if you’re not willing to be in the arena with her, your opinion of her does not count.

Dan Neumann: [04:02]  Yes. And so there are some vicious things. And so really taking the brave and daring to step on to, in that case, the Ted talk stage or within organizations, be willing to step up and take a risk and, and have some vulnerability, which we’re going to talk a fair amount about that is, is risk and uncertainty and vulnerability.

Christy Erbeck: [04:24]  It is, and that really is the heart of daring leadership. Uh, you know, one of the things that she says is you cannot get to courage without rumbling with vulnerability. And there are six myths that she calls out that just deal with this concept of being vulnerable. And while, while we may want to be courageous or we see courage in other people, we have a hard time often seeing it in ourselves and she’ll tell the story. You got to embrace the suck. And what she means by that is when you’re running, you know, getting ready for a marathon, even if you don’t feel like you can do it, you just got to stick to it and embrace the suck while you go through it. And there’s a huge component of of that type of an attitude when you are rumbling with vulnerability.

Dan Neumann: [05:23]  Yeah, the embracing the discomfort, knowing that it’s just part of doing the activity comes with the territory.

Christy Erbeck: [05:33]  And before you know, before you know it, you’re going to be on the other side of that suck and it sucks while you’re going through it, so embrace it and get to the other side, not necessarily as quickly as you can because you want to go through and deal with the things that are causing this rumble but live it and love it and you’ll get to the other side.

Dan Neumann: [05:56]  I have mentioned being a runner and doing some of these endurance events and the last ultra that I did was very ugly, and there was, there were periods of time between, I think it was roughly mile 25 and 29 where I was just having this internal monologue. Do I keep going? Do I curl up on the side of the trail and wait for somebody to come get me? Do I, evacuate the contents of my stomach, you know, it was just, it was, it was not a good time while I was out, but you just, you know, you kind of keep going and obviously doing that in a physical challenge is different in some ways, but related to doing that with mental challenges or with leadership or business types of things. Okay. And you’ve got a rumble with that then with these myths.

Christy Erbeck: [06:46]  Exactly. You want to be willing to have a real conversation, even if it’s tough. Because when you’re, when you’re willing to do that, the person that’s also with you and also willing to do that, you’re going to get to the truth and you’re going to see the courage of each other of being willing to stick with it, lean into it, give generously as you are in the middle of that, and listen as Harriet Lerner, she’s a psychologist and an author and just fabulous, but she talks about listen with the same passion that we want to be listened to and heard.

Dan Neumann: [07:29]  Oh, that’s interesting. Almost a variety of the do on to others from a listening perspective. What just came to mind as you were describing that is how in our culture, at least my perspective, you know, it’s, there’s so much around not being vulnerable and the specific example that came to mind was the old commercial. Never let them see you sweat, right? Never let them see you nervous. Never have that, that moment of weakness where you’re obviously nervous and so putting up a facade if you will.

Christy Erbeck: [08:05]  Yes, and we’ll get to that in a little bit because one of the things that Brené talks about, we teach in the Dare to Lead™ program is armoring up and so that never let them see you sweat is very much like armoring up and you know basically holding people at arm’s length hiding behind that you know attacking towards people but in some way keeping people at arm’s length from how you’re really feeling, what’s really going on with you. And that leads to the next piece of daring leadership, which is self awareness and self love matter because who we are is how we lead and so if we’re constantly armoring up. If we are constantly holding people at bay, if we’re not willing to see how, who we are matters to the people we lead. We’re really missing out on some deep and meaningful and relevant connections with people.

Dan Neumann: [09:15]  Would there be an example you could share around kind of the importance of the self awareness and self love or how might that manifest itself?

Christy Erbeck: [09:24] Yeah. So I think it’s important that, so as a, as a leader in my organization, our organization, I think it’s really important that I’m aware of when I’m running on empty because I naturally give, do people I give of myself to our clients to my teammates. And when I’m running on empty, I can be short or I can be you know, harsh in my responses. And, and if I’m not willing to take care of myself and lead in that way, then I’m not setting a good example of how I want to operate within our organization. So for example, if I’m not doing yoga classes or if I’m not doing meditation, for me personally, if I’m not taking time to read for pleasure, then it shows up in how I behave.

Dan Neumann: [10:31]  Yeah. That does make sense. And it also made me think of the, some of the facilitation reading that I’m doing on the topic of facilitation, being aware of how we are presenting ourselves or our favorite go to activities or approaches. And the fact that we, uh, ended up maybe getting into getting stuck, getting in ruts, when we aren’t aware of our, our biases which are things that we tend to go to, whether there behaviors or facilitation techniques or leadership approaches.

Christy Erbeck: [11:03]  Right. Or for example, I’m constantly asking, you know, how many hours did you bill this week, Dan? And, uh, you know, Wanting, asking or telling or, or, or demanding or even leading by example of billing 60 hours in the week, but then sending you to a class that talks about work life balance and how much sleep are you getting? I’m disingenuous, right? I’m out of alignment or out of integrity. Um, and I think it’s really important that people see how much we love ourselves and take care of ourselves because I think it’s a reflection of how we would care for other people.

Dan Neumann: [11:58]  Agreed. And maybe even worse if there is a lopsided expectation where somebody is maybe not putting in time or is taking care of themselves but doesn’t demonstrate an interest in taking care of others as well. That would be also an imbalance of sorts.

Christy Erbeck: [12:19]  So I think self awareness and self love as a concept has been around a long time. We’ve just talked about it differently, you know it, we’ve had leadership for classes or language around your actions speak louder than your words and let’s lead by example and things like that. And I think what I like about this new languaging is that it’s really taking it to I’m accountable, I’m responsible for myself and how I show up in this world and how I lead. I’m responsible every single minute for how I show up and so if I am highly aware of what triggers me or what supports me and I’m taking care of myself. Then I think that that goes beyond and just really sets the stage for how I want others to behave. So let’s talk about some barriers to courage and how that shows up in in work or corporations. And there’s a whole host of of things that really keep us silent, keep us from wanting to speak up or maybe show show our work or show what’s important to us and barriers can show up as fears and feelings. They can show up as moving directly into problem solving or action, instead of taking a step back and let’s, let’s look at what’s happening. Let’s analyze it and then let’s move into some action. Shame and blame is really popular as as a barrier to courage, perfectionism. Anytime these and other barriers show up in a company, I know that I have a lot of, a lot to work with, so to speak, and lots of places that we can help.

Dan Neumann: [14:39]  For me, the one barrier that stands out maybe the most is the one related to perfectionism. The need to be perfect, to deliver everything, to be on time or hit the expectations that somebody else has set really, I think is a barrier to courage and to innovation. That’s one that stood out to me.

Christy Erbeck: [15:03]  Absolutely. And our podcast right now, Dan is a perfect example of that. I am terrified of not putting out a perfect podcast on this particular topic because of the spotlight in which Dare to Lead™ is in right now and that I’m going to get something wrong or I’m not going to say it the way Brené would say or that somebody who’s going to be listening to it and say, oh my gosh, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. And so I am stuck. Right. I’m stumbling over my words and while in the end what we put out will be awesome. That’s definitely a barrier. Now I’m trying to be in the arena and move through it. Um, but it would be easy to get stuck and say, you know what, I’m done for the evening. I think. I’d like to read my book or go eat some chocolate to self soothe, but we’re not going to do that. We’re going to push through.

Dan Neumann: [16:02]  Yes and I appreciate you demonstrating vulnerability and yeah, for me, yes. I don’t think I’d fully appreciated that. I probably still don’t fully appreciate that perspective or that that vulnerability that you’re sensing around this particular topic. So thank you for sharing that. And yes, this will be great.

Christy Erbeck: [16:27]  Well it is so important to me that the word gets out, that people can take advantage of a keynote from me or a workshop or the two day program because it’s so amazing and it will change your life going through this program or understanding the language, understanding what it means. We’ve at my home, we’ve started incorporating a couple of phrases that I learned from Dare to Lead™. And it does wonders for your marriage when you can have an honest conversation with your spouse and say, you know, Bruce, the story I’m making up right now is such and such and that makes me feel like you don’t care about me and I need you to tell me what’s really going on in your in your head so that you know, we can come back to some equilibrium here, right? So I am going to push through and overcome. And want other people to overcome these barriers to courage. I believe that when we do, when we have those truthful, honest conversations, um, one, we’re going to be able to show up as whole people in our organizations. And that’s going to do a world of good and two, we’re going to do a world of good for ourselves. That goes back to that self love and self awareness matter type of thing. So let’s move on and talk about inclusivity, diversity and equity as a barrier to courage and how that shows up in the workplace or in your neighborhood. And these, this definitely is a topic of conversation right now.

Dan Neumann: [18:18]  There’s so much focus. I know within the agile community we’ve got agile 2019 coming up. There’s a women in agile preconference event that’s there. You know, there are a lot of conversations last year about diversity and inclusivity. What I think I heard the phrase, diversity’s getting invited to the dance and inclusivity is getting asked to dance. Like that was the distinction between, between those two. Um, yeah. No. So very, very tightly. And so can you elaborate on how those create barriers to being courageous?

Christy Erbeck: [19:01]  Well, certainly if, if I’m not part of either the gender or the race or whatever it might be, that is the majority in my organization, I might feel more timid. I might not feel comfortable or feel that it’s safe to speak up about things that are important to me. And when we can’t have those types of robust, um, inclusive conversations, then we’re missing out. We’re missing out on the creativity, the intelligence, the perspective that a wide range of people from diverse backgrounds brings to the table. And when we see that happening, um, you know, we’re missing. We’re not whole if everybody’s not at the table.

Dan Neumann: [20:03]  Right. And so then being intentional about trying to remove those barriers. But I think what we’re also talked about though is the person who’s feeling the vulnerability also being able to do some work. And that’s not to say that it’s the only problem is that people in the minority group, whatever, should just speak up more. That’s not at all what I’m saying lest, Um, you know, somebody misconstrues that, um, cause there’s responsibilities on both sides for sure, and on businesses to foster diversity and inclusion and be more equitable.

Christy Erbeck: [20:45]  And what we’re really looking to do is eliminate shame from the workplace. Right? So shame and blame is another barrier to courage. Um, and, and it’s shame shows up in a variety of ways and can be incredibly insidious and subtle and hard to distinguish. And, um, and so making sure that as we become more self aware and we are clear in how we can help remove these barriers to courage and honest conversations, um, you know, we have to help route all of that out of our companies.

Dan Neumann: [21:36]  Would there be an example of kind of shame in the workspace that, that comes to mind statement. Oh, you know, such and such, they’re, they’re too loud. They’re, they’re too assertive. Um, they, you know, arts, whatever dressed appropriately. Like what, what are these, some of these examples of shame in the work place that come to mind for you?

Christy Erbeck: [22:00]  So, and I want to make sure that there’s clarity because there’s, there’s distinctions between shame, guilt, humiliation and embarrassment and I’ll talk about those in a minute, but some examples of how shame shows up at work. Um, anytime we compare one person to another, that’s a form of shame. When we use power over people, that’s a form of shame. Back channeling is a form of shame, discrimination, favoritism, Gossiping. When we talk about people and aren’t willing to talk to people, we are in essence shaming the person that we were talking about and we’re doing it behind their back.

Christy Erbeck: [22:47]  So then let’s go back to the four distinctions. Right? So shame says I am bad. Like this is a core belief that I believe there is something wrong with me and I can’t fix it. It’s, it’s just I am bad, right? Very deep seated when it is, um, it’s focused on the self yourself. It’s not behavior focused. If we move into guilt, guilt is behavior focused. I did something bad and so I did something wrong and I feel guilty about it. You should, I should feel guilty, you know, ate that cookie and I shouldn’t have eaten it. I broke my diet and my, you know, my promise to my accountability partner, humiliation depends on whether or not you deserve this. But did I deserve to be humiliated? No, I don’t believe I, I feel very strongly that rarely, especially in the workplace, should we use humiliation as a tool to bring behavior into line. And then the fourth distinction is embarrassment. This is fleeting. It’s often funny. And it basically says, I’m not alone. This happens to everybody. So if you trip over something and you fall. Um, hopefully you didn’t get hurt in that. Uh, but most, most of the time it’s funny, your chair, your chair falls over backwards or something like that. It’s sharing of an experience that massive amounts of people have also experienced. And so that’s embarrassment.

Dan Neumann: [24:49]  Yeah. And I remember back from anthropology classes back in the day, shame is a very powerful thing for a lot of communities and it’s a way of, and I’m not advocating for shame, but it keeps things in alignment because shame is so powerful that in a lot of places it’s used to kind of keep the status quo or keep people from deviating from, from what’s considered to be norm. Is that fair? Okay.

Christy Erbeck: [25:15]  Yes. So shame has been used in that way. And that’s interesting from an anthropological, can you point, because again, shame at its core and, and Doctor Brené Brown would say this, that shame is, is basically saying I am bad. So if from a norm perspective, we’re trying to bring you into alignment with culture or something like that. Again, let’s look at it behaviorally. Like, so as a child, behaviorally you, you don’t want to steal, right? But maybe you go and you steal some, so makeup from the grocery store and you’re seven years old. Um, I would hope that there would be one, some guilt feeling I did something bad and two, there’d be accountability to say, no, that’s not how you were raised. That’s not what we want you to be doing. That behavior is wrong. Not that the person is wrong or bad.

Dan Neumann: [26:28]  Yeah. Yeah. It’s a shame in the workspace clearly would be a thing to be avoided. Yes.

Christy Erbeck: [26:37]  Let’s move on. Let’s talk about the four skill sets of courage. So the first one is called rumbling with vulnerability. And I’m not going to go into detail yet with these. I’m just going to share with the four skill sets are so it’s rumbling with vulnerability, living into our values, braving trust and learning to rise. And each of these are really important and they all go together. You almost can’t have one without the other. So you cannot learn to rise if you have not rumbled with vulnerability. You cannot brave trust if you haven’t lived into your values. Does that make sense?

Dan Neumann: [27:27]  So what I hear you saying is rumbling with vulnerability, that act and in a previous conversation you and I were having you were talking about west side story, like we’re going to rumble living into the values which then raving trust builds upon that and learning to rise would build upon braving trust.

Christy Erbeck: [27:51]  And this is all based on Brené’s research and over 400,000 pieces of data that supports that courage can be learned.

Dan Neumann: [28:03]  I think it’s easy to assume that that courage is born trait, that people are born with courage or they’re born without it. But the fact that her research is indicating it can be learned, uh, was encouraging.

Christy Erbeck: [28:19]  Yeah, so if we rumble with vulnerability, what this means is that we are willing to have a tough, honest conversation with somebody and we’re willing to stick with them through that conversation until we’ve been able to get to the other side. And sometimes that means leaning in. Sometimes it means leaning back, but we’re there we’re rumbling and tumbling until we come out to the other side.

Dan Neumann: [28:52] It’s not a, it’s not a quick thing. You know, in her Netflix special, she, she has a little self deprecating humor about when she I think was rumbling with some stuff she had to deal with. You know, it was like, well, Hey, oh, you know what, I’ve got six weeks so let’s go fix this. And then I think she said, you know, it was like an eight year process or something along those timelines, but the rumbling is not a, Oh, I’m going to, um, you know, look at, look at the handout and do a little worksheet and then I’m done dealing with vulnerability. It’s a process of exploring your own, uh, your own assumptions and myths that we have bought into.

Christy Erbeck: [29:35]  Yeah. And there is no quick, easy way to get to that because there’s so much that we have to go through to be able to get to the other side. But when we get to the other side, so if we are willing to go through shame, feel some scares, we feel some fear, feel that anxiety, be uncertain about something. The other side of all of that is love, belonging and joy and she’ll often talk about there is no vulnerability without courage. And there is no courage without vulnerability. You have to do both. Um, and while I might see something that you do as courageous because you are being vulnerable, if I were to try to do the same thing, I might see it as weakness and yet you would see it as courage. So it’s a really strange animal, this vulnerability and this courage thing, but it’s worth learning and moving through these feelings of shame, scarcity, fear, anxiety and uncertainty to get to love, belonging and joy. Because in the corporation, what that means is empathy, trust, innovation, creativity, problem solving, resilience, hard conversations. And our corporations our companies our, people are craving this right now.

Dan Neumann: [31:17]  Yeah some of the research on how actively disengaged employees are is really astounding. The metrics pretty quick Google result to find it. But the degree to which people are not engaged at work and not only that, they’re actively disengaged, which is even worse, is astounding. And so hopefully with dealing with some of these, these issues and being courageous and changing some of the environment that people are in, we can get to a point where we are unlocking creativity and problem solving.

Christy Erbeck: [31:52]  And one of the reasons why this program is for leaders, it’s for senior executives, it’s for the c suite, it’s for anyone who has that type of a title. And then anyone else who’s leading people is because there is such a disconnect between how I’ll call them frontline workers feel. All of this is showing up in their work and the perception that that senior leadership group has, that there isn’t a problem, that there is no shame, scarcity, fear, anxiety or uncertainty in their companies when in fact it’s rampant and they were unwilling to see it. So this program is designed to help those senior executives, if they’re willing and ready for it, pull back that mask, take down that armor and find a way to their own courage, empathy, innovation, creativity, so that they can lead that behavior in their organizations.

Dan Neumann: [33:09]  And that leading is leading by example, which is going to then catch on and be contagious to, to other parts, right? Once, once that the front line workers, the middle managers, the senior managers are starting to see these behaviors manifest themselves in the senior leadership and uh, buying into that it’s not just a fad, it’s not a passing thing. It’s a, it’s a real thing that’s happening.

Christy Erbeck: [33:34]  It must be in their behaviors, right? Like if they went through this program and then just were talking heads as they came out of it, then nothing would have happened. No transformation. No change because everybody wants to be transformed because they want to be inspired. Nobody wants to be changed because it’s too much hard work. Being a leader, being courageous, being vulnerable is hard work. So a lot of people don’t want to do it. You’re going to get your hands messy. As she talks about in the arena quote, you’re gonna be down face first in the middle of that arena with your face dusty and marred and sweaty and bloody. And if you’re not willing to do that, you are missing out on so much and missing out on your potential as a leader.

Dan Neumann: [34:29]  So how, how do we move from, let’s say having then rumbled are rumbling, which I’m assuming is a continuing process and not you rumble, then you move on. You continue to rumble with your, you’re rumbling with your vulnerability

Christy Erbeck: [34:48]  Yes. You’re rumbling with yourself. You’re rumbling with your team. And I love it as a language to say, Hey Dan, let’s rumble about this because that means we’re going to do more than just talk about it. We’re going to really look at how could we fix this? How could we address it, whatever it might be. Okay. But if we move from being in that cave and really being in that dark place because we’re willing to rise up and look at what it’s going to take to be courageous, it starts with living into our values. And often people think that they have two sets of values, their personal values and professional values. In truth, we only have one set. So in the workshop we take you through an exercise of uncovering your top two or three values and helping you find alignment from those values into the work that you’re doing today. And if there needs to be some sort of calibration, then that’s an opportunity as well. Um, but we really want to pour into you the opportunity for you to find and discover what are your core values and then how do those manifest every day. And at AgileThought, as you all know, we have seven core values. And what I love about our core values is that they’re behavior based. So we can look at our values and, and then look at the people to the right to the left or even to myself and identify whether or not those values are being lived.

Dan Neumann: [36:37]  Yeah. I like those as well. That, you know, one of them is there’s no flying under the radar. And so it’s easy to look at behaviors that are either aligned with not flying under the radar or you know, at, at times, people may not be too happy to be on the radar and it’s an opportunity to identify that behavior and have an honest conversation about it and kind of dig in there and find out what’s, what’s behind that.

Christy Erbeck: [37:06]  Exactly. That leads us right into braving trust. And one of her favorite quotes is clear is kind, unclear is unkind. And if we look at what braving means, so for, um, for our audience, braving is an acronym and it stands for boundaries, reliability, accountability, vault, integrity and nonjudgment and generosity. This acronym is really about how you turn those values into a reality and an action. Um, so by having boundaries around what you will and won’t do, how you do and don’t show up. Being reliable, being accountable, being involved so that if somebody comes to you and says, Hey, I have this thing that I got to share, I need somebody to talk to. Yeah. It begins and ends with you. Right. Unless it is something you find out they’re going to end up hurting themselves or someone else. Then of course you have a responsibility to get that person, you know, some help in and move beyond you as the vault. You are not responsible for carrying that. But, how often do you hear in conversations? Um, Gosh, you know, really, I’m not really supposed to say anything, but did you hear about Susie? Yeah. You know, that’s really not a good situation and I think she’s gonna get in a lot of trouble. Well, if she, if you weren’t supposed to say anything, then why are you beginning the conversation? You know, I’m really not supposed to say anything.

Dan Neumann: [38:54]  Yeah. That seems to tie back to some of the shaming. I think you referred to the behind the back conversations as a variety as shame.

Christy Erbeck: [39:06]  And then it also that to me, these all go together because even vault ties to integrity and in integrity, I should not be sharing that story. It’s not my story to tell. First of all. And second, I was asked to hold a confidence. So how, how well can I do that? Um, nonjudgment is really important in that we don’t want to, we never know the whole story, right? So the truth is your side, my side and somebody else’s side. Um, and we’re not here to judge people. We’re here to love them, to help them to work alongside them. But judging is another form of shaming and then let’s be generous with our time and our talent and how we can help those around us.

Dan Neumann: [40:12]  And the generosity, generosity in interpreting behaviors too. Sometimes I know I get moving too fast and it’s easy to make assumptions or to do things that are, are not particularly generous, slow down, slow down, reflect. Think about what the other options might be, what else might be behind a particular behavior versus jumping to the, maybe the more hardwired interpretation of what’s happening.

Christy Erbeck: [40:45]  Even a few years ago we moved as a, as a practice to assume good intent. So we went to intent based leadership from David Marquet and we picked up a lot of his work around assume good intent along with that and it still applies. Absolutely. The fourth skill set is learning to rise. And what I love about this is it is about learning to get up off your feet, stand in that arena and be willing to do what it takes be where you are and keep coming back.

Dan Neumann: [41:33]  Is this in the, at the context of like getting knocked down and being willing to rise again or perhaps in a context of just being able to step forward in the first place to rise above maybe the anonymity that you might be thriving in are kind of hanging out in?

Christy Erbeck: [41:52]  It’s coming from a couple of places. One, being able to continue to stand up when you get knocked down. Trusting yourself enough that even if you do get knocked down for whatever reason, um, that you are strong enough to get back up again. And it is choosing, and there’s a quote that says integrity is choosing courage over comfort, choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy, and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them. So it’s about living this way, not just like we talked about the talking heads, learning something and then not applying it, but just having that theoretical knowledge. Everything that Brené does is all about the application of the knowledge and moving beyond that. Does that help answer your question or no?

Dan Neumann: [42:55]  I think it does and the integrity part, you know, choosing courage over comfort, choosing what’s right over what’s fun, fast or easy. That reminds me of the podcast we did with Dr. Jeff Thompson, who’s a CEO at Gundersen health systems. And he did a talk on value based leadership. And really there were some tough choices that he and the hospital system had to make with a very talented staff that was not aligned with the values in one case, with what to do with the economic recession and how they were able to weather that without reducing staff head count because that wasn’t aligned with their values and really tough and really learning to live those values and not just have the, you know, the eagles soaring over water poster on the wall that says something nice-sounding, but you just don’t live it when push comes to shove.

Christy Erbeck: [43:52]  Exactly. If I walk into an organization and there are those eagle rising posters everywhere, and yet behaviorally there are no eagles in the room, if you know what I mean. To me that is an organization ripe for a whole host of bad behaviors and they need this so much, right? We want it to be real. It’s gotta be meaningful. If not, it’s not worth doing. And in fact, when companies come talk to us, I actually interview them and find out whether or not they’re even ready for this kind of a program because I’m not going to go in and share this work and and have it be superficial because it’s not fair to the people who are going to go through this program and do it in a meaningful way.

Dan Neumann: [44:55]  You’re asking people to invest time and money but emotionally and bring their whole person to this experience and it would not be doing a good service to anybody to to do that if they’re not ready.

Christy Erbeck: [45:13]  Exactly, and what we found is that courage is contagious. Just like fear is contagious or anxiety is contagious. Courage is contagious. So when others see courage in their leaders, they are more willing to step up and also be courageous and sort of scale during leadership and build courage and teams and organizations. We absolutely must cultivate a culture in which brave work, tough conversations and whole hearts are the expectation and armor is not necessary or rewarded.

Dan Neumann: [45:51]  Wow. So there has been a lot in the time we spent together, Christy. I do appreciate you sharing and was thinking, you know, this is just touching on the surface of years of work and research that Doctor Brené Brown put in, I think you’ve alluded to a hundreds of thousands of data points that went into her work and were just scratching the surface on some of those in this podcast. We did talk about maybe doing a deep dive in the not too distant future on something called shame shields and some myths of vulnerability and so hopefully people will come back and listen to that and we’ll try and get that done before too many more weeks go by. In the meantime, what might people be able to do as some next steps?

Christy Erbeck: [46:41]  They can certainly reach out to me if they would like to have a conversation about whether or not Dare to Lead™ makes sense for their organization or how we could introduce the concept to their teams and there’s a variety of ways like I can come in and do a 60 minute keynote. There’s a 90 minute keynote with some exercises just to start getting you thinking about this. There is of course the whole full blown two-day program where if you go through that you receive a badge that says you’ve been Dare to Lead™ trained and there’s a variety of things inbetween. I believe we’ll have some notes and things for them in the show notes as well.

Dan Neumann: [47:28]  We absolutely will. We’ll put that up on agilethought-staging.ectfh4-liquidwebsites.com/podcast and if people want to contact us directly they can email podcast at [inaudible] dot com and we’ll be sure to get back to them uh, quickly.

Christy Erbeck: [47:42]  The other thing they can do is if they haven’t watched the Netflix Call to Courage special that came out on April 19th, that would be wonderful. Or if they’re still just learning about Brené Brown’s work, her Ted Talk, the power of vulnerability would also be a great place to start.

Dan Neumann: [48:03]  Okay, fantastic. Lots of, lots of good materials and I know this has been very inspiring for you, Christy. I know you’ve invested a lot of, of time and energy in that, so, um, thank you for doing that and sharing the podcast.

Christy Erbeck: [48:17]  You’re welcome, Dan. It’s been my pleasure.

Outro: [48:21] This has been the Agile Coaches’ Corner Podcast brought to you by AgileThought. Get the show notes and other helpful tips from this episode and other episodes at agilethought-staging.ectfh4-liquidwebsites.com/podcast.




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