All IN Leadership! Making a difference by being the difference to your team

“If you aren’t in the arena getting your ass kicked also, I’m not interested in your feedback.”
– Dr. Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

Have you ever worked for a leader who constantly whines about team performance but is always taking that Personal Time Off day (PTO) or phoning it in from some place exotic?

Author, motivator, researcher, TED presenter Dr. Brene Brown is internationally recognized for her wisdom and for her kickass, take-no-prisoners commentary. She calls it like she sees it and I like that, especially when it comes to absentee team leadership.

In the course of her work, her presentations, her writing, she says she has come to understand being “all in” even when it means you might fail is true bravery.

For leaders, what does “all in” look like?

It looks like going “all in” beside each and every person you guide daily as part of your teams. When they’re working to make the company a success, they need to look over and see their leader, willing to take on the same level work. If, as a leader, you’re not all in, you’re not there, or you have hired a coach or a vendor company to work on your team sans you, then you have given up power. You have no right to give feedback and critique the work.

“All in” as a leader looks like taking calculated risks to innovate and grow, both yourself, your teams, and your company. Smart risks demonstrate your willingness to try and fail, get back up and try and fail again. And again. Until success happens – and it will!

It looks like lifting up employees who are struggling every day to create something better, something that serves clients well, something that advances the company’s core mission. They deserve leaders who take the time to offer them training, development, coaching, guidance. I like the notion that we give up the word struggle when we see it and replace that with the word “Play” until we generate more options for problem solving. We stop taking things so seriously that could be more fun and engaging. That’s what you do, as the person in charge.

Dr. Brown says, if you’re not part of the group willing to get your ass kicked every day in a competitive landscape, then don’t tell me what I’m doing wrong. The negative impact of an absentee boss is huge, as opposed to the boss who rolls up her sleeves and goes “all in” with her team. Everyone feels stronger in an environment where the leader clearly establishes a willingness to get her ass kicked right alongside the team.

Dr. Brown is a professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Endowed Chair and, for the past 16 years, has conducted extensive research on shame, courage, empathy and vulnerability. She has also authored four books: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, and Braving the Wilderness.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.