Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships, Eric Berne, 1964
Behind every best-selling author of popular management books is a simple idea. Brene Brown’s is vulnerability.
This book champions the idea that it takes courage and daring to drop your armour and show vulnerability. Her style is to be plain speaking – she writes stuff like ‘you can’t get to courage without rumbling with vulnerability, embrace the suck.’ If you can get over the contrived style and the subtle self-promotion there’s some great guidance in there.
Brown starts by suggesting that what ‘stands in the way gets in the way’ before listing ten behaviours and cultural issues which leaders across the globe need to be able to confront. What follows are the skills grouped into the sections of the book:
- Rumbling with Vulnerability
- Living into our Values
- Braving Trust
- Learning to Rise
Most of the book is taken up with Rumbling with Vulnerability. Brown examines this in detail; what it is, why it’s important, what armour we surround ourselves with and why it’s good for leaders to be able to address issues in our lives such as shame, empathy and curiosity.
‘A rumble is a discussion, conversation, or meeting defined by a commitment to lean into vulnerability.’
Leaders who engage in ‘rumbles’ without shedding the armour of self-protection spend their energies managing unproductive behaviours. For Brown ‘shame’ is the killer emotion which can stalk you over time: empathy and self-care are the antidotes to shame.
Living into our values covers what our own values are, what organisational values might be and how to turn values into measurable behaviours. Trust is secured over time and by using her acronym which describe its constituent parts. Learning to rise is about self-awareness and resilience.
In Braving Trust, Brown suggests that you choose– and listen to – a few people whose feedback you value and respect. The belief that you can “go it alone” is a myth. Brave leaders’ candour about their struggles gives others permission to be honest about their feelings.
Dare to Lead is a distillation of Brown’s previous works. It’s essentially a self-help book. Its tone feels contrived but it’s a useful read.
Once you’ve finished this book and for a really great insight into self-awareness there’s the ThreeWhats High Performers and ThreeWhats Mindset Playbooks.