The other day our General Manager (I am not sure if she would want me to name her) carried a bouquet of flowers through the office. As I do, I said, “I have never seen any man in the company ever given flowers”.
That was kind of silly because I am actually, possibly the only man that the company has given flowers to, 7 years ago when I was in hospital. I had forgotten about that at the time.
A few hours later, the GM re-appeared, this time carrying a bunch of red Gerberas, one for each male member of the team. Attached to each flower a personal note of gratitude for the unique gift that the member of staff brought to the company.
This was stunning, perhaps the most courageous piece of management that I have ever witnessed. An example, a story that I will hold to for a very long time.
As I write this bog, on the wall in front of me here at home, I have posters of Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly Checklist For Giving Engaged Feedback and her Daring Leadership Manifesto (find them here: https://brenebrown.com/downloads/)
From these posters, I paraphrase some of the most pertinent and my favourite statements:
We want to take risks, embrace our vulnerabilities and be courageous
We ask that you engage with us, show up beside us
We ask that you show up, let yourself be seen and be courageous. Dare greatly with us.
Model the vulnerability and openness that you expect to see from us.
This was an example of truely daring leadership.
But maybe even more fascinating to me was the re-action of the men recieving the flowers. The awkwardness, in some cases the suspicion. Men struggling to know, to understand what this act of apparent love, of caring and of kindness meant. How to re-act and how to even say thank you.
We have so much to learn. Not only could many men learn from their female leaders and peers how to be vulnerable, we could also learn a great deal about true courage.