Dare to Lead

Bréné Brown is a researcher, professor, chair, podcaster and author on courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy in management and leadership positions.

quick & compact

Brene Brown redefines contemporary leadership philosophy and allows more versatile human characteristics like vulnerability to transcend into seemingly restraint areas of life such as people management. Time has come to embrace the full spectrum of what it means to be human in leadership.

1 Big Idea

According to Brené Brown, vulnerability is the heart of courageous leadership. Courage and vulnerability always go together. In her book, she explains how to find the inner courage to lead a great team. When we dare to lead, we don’t pretend to have the right answers; we stay curious and ask the right questions. Over the past seven years of doing research, Brené found that leaders are asking the same question: how do you cultivate braver, more daring leaders? And, how do you embed the value of courage in your culture? Brené writes: ‘One of the most important findings of my career is that courage can be taught, developed and measured’.

2 inspiring quotes

“I define a leader as anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes, and who has the courage to develop that potential.” 

“If you have more than three priorities, you have no priorities.” 

3 actionable takeaways

Research shows that the majority of us avoid being clear when talking to others. We feel it is kinder to avoid being honest. We also feel that it is easier to avoid confrontation and conversation. These difficult chats can sometimes cost us personal and emotional energy. But what about the long-term cost of steering away from tricky conversations? As Brené says in her book: “Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind”. 

Action: Dare to be honest and clear when talking to others. Being clear does not stand for being unkind. When you are in need of help, would you prefer an honest answer or a satisfying answer which is not clear? 

Getting clear on your core values will give you direction and allow you to move decisions forward with conviction. It’s our values that motivate us to get back up again and keep daring to give it our all. Two values are actionable. Too many values and you are left with a meaningless list of words designed to make you feel good. 

Action: Take a moment to ask yourself, what are my key values? Likely you will come up with lots of answers at first but try to limit it to just two of your most important values, and let them guide your behavior. Especially in tough times.

Being vulnerable is paramount to our creativity, our health, our relationships, and our growth. Unfortunately, oftentimes we believe that being vulnerable means being weak, most of us struggle to embrace (what we perceive as) failure, learn from it, and use it as a stepping stone to success. 

Action: Try to recognize the blockers that are preventing you from being open. A key blocker oftentimes is perfectionism. You need all your emotions on board to become a daring leader. Dare to explore your feelings instead of numbing them. Ask yourself this: What am I actually feeling and where did this feeling come from?