Brené Brown did two segments on the topic of “armored vs. daring leadership” last April, which I came across a few weeks ago. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard the term “putting on armor” in regards to relationship issues.
I had previously heard the term in one of my therapy sessions last fall. My therapist and I were reviewing some recent correspondence (recent as in 20 minutes before I left the house) between me and someone with whom I’d had a falling out, she said, “Wow, you both are operating in courtroom mode; you’re putting on your armor.” This term means that we both were responding with defensiveness rather than openheartedness and seeing the other person’s POV. Instead of allowing for the possibility of being wrong, each of us was indulging in whataboutism.
So when I heard these podcasts, I remembered that term from a few months earlier, and heard how Dr. Brown applied to the concept of leadership in business, and it made me think about how it might relate to my interactions both as a performer and as a teacher. (Not to mention as a human being relating to other human beings.)
Dr. Brown identified components of Armored Leadership vs. Daring Leadership, and I’d like to put those in here. You can find the full transcripts in the two podcasts of April 5, 2021 and April 12, 2021. (And I’d strongly recommend listening to them as well.)
|Armored Leadership||Daring Leadership|
|Being a knower and being right||Being a learner and getting it right|
|Avoiding awkward and hard conversations||Leaning into hard conversations; vulnerability|
|Using shame and blame as a management tool||Using empathy for yourself and others|
|Scarcity-based – there’s never enough (fear and uncertainty)||We are enough; we have enough|
|Leading reactively||Leading proactively|
|Resisting change||Accepting and embracing change|
Which characteristics do you see yourself possessing as a performer? Or as a teacher? Or have you seen in other performers or teachers? How does that manifest on stage? In the studio?
You can take an assessment at https://daretolead.brenebrown.com/assessment/ to find out what you’re strong at and need to work on. I did. I’d be curious to see how I would have fared if I had taken this test, oh, even 12 years ago. As it is, I’m still working on the elements of living into my values and trust, and am doing better as far as vulnerability and learning to rise (adaptability, which has always been one of my strong suits).
I grew up with people for whom the left hand column was a parenting style. There were many things I rebelled against right off the bat, which is probably why my childhood – and my return to my hometown – was so fraught with tension. And there are some things that colored my own relationships, personally and professionally, as a result.