A call to courage

Michelle Carr took over as executive director of Providence-based Leadership Rhode Island in 2022. She joined the nonprofit’s staff in 2014. / PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO

Michelle Carr | Leadership Rhode Island executive director

A courageous, authentic and human-centered approach to leadership is needed as we bear witness to the emergence of new technologies and their impact on our workplaces and communities. Leaders who dare to slow down, embrace vulnerability and prioritize human connections are uncovering a wellspring of opportunity.

Consider the power of vulnerability. When we reveal our own complex and flawed selves, others let down their guard and share. We see beyond the assumptions we make about one another and instead connect through our shared humanity. In the workplace, leaders who model vulnerability and authenticity nurture an environment where others can do the same. These are the spaces where empathy expands, teams unite, collaboration multiplies, and talent is attracted and retained.

Prioritize relationships over checklists. Building meaningful connections with our colleagues, customers and community members means investing in who they are rather than what they can do for us. Fostering trust in this way allows us to continually learn from each other’s experiences – increasing our capacity to discern nuance and relevancy, and forge lasting relationships. These are the roots of belonging from which all growth stems.

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Create a new world of work. Leaders who acknowledge the universal human need for well-being, provide access to flexible work arrangements and individualize coaching to the unique strengths of their team members ignite engagement, performance and excellence. The result? An environment where people can nurture their lives both inside and outside of work. It’s a path to reducing burnout, increasing happiness, boosting creativity and fostering an engaged workforce.

Leaders who heed this call to courage are the transformational architects of a brighter tomorrow.

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