What’s it about?

Dare to Lead (2018) investigates how you can find the inner courage to lead a greater team. Engraving on her own experiences as a leadership coach, as well as recent research, this summary explores how you can harness your emotions, defeat your fear of failure and become a daring leader in an increasingly competitive world.

About the author:

Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston, specializing in courage and empathy research. Her 2012 book Daring Greatly was a New York Times bestseller. Her TED talk, “The Power of Vulnerability,” has over thirty million views and is one of the top five most-viewed TED talks of all time.

Get to know how to lead with bravery:

Administrators and managers all over the globe want to understand how they can convert more efficient leaders. Should you show yourself by displaying your power over assistants? Would you gain more honor if you improved your job title? If you want to become a more excellent leader, you’ll need to ignore all about rank, tags, and potential play.

Far from being weak, vulnerability is a vital asset for growth:

What makes you feel vulnerable? The author has postured this topic to thousands of people repeatedly and collected prevalent answers. Vulnerability is the start of your first business or how you feel when you get laid off from work. Exposure is a universal human emotion that we feel when we expose ourselves to others during times of risk or uncertainty. Nonetheless, some damaging myths about vulnerability and exposure relate those traits to weakness. However, they are far off.

Actions that make you feel vulnerable, like missing a job or setting yourself out there emotionally, can bring feelings of depression, doubt, and lack of passion for self-protection. Though, there is not a single piece of empirical data suggesting that vulnerability is associated with weakness. 

Considerm for example, the problem that the author suggested about a place of unique capabilities in military organization in 2014. After revealing that vulnerability is the feeling that accompanies danger and risk, the author then asked strong, robust soldiers whether any of them had ever undertaken or observed a brave act that did not need the feel of vulnerability.  

And vulnerability isn’t just required for courage. It is the foundation of human discovery and creativity. Why? Because there is so much risk essential to the creative method. Any successful plan usually requires a good portion of disappointment along the way.

On a social level, this suggests that a society that balances vulnerability with weakness is likely to strive to create new ideas or fresh views. However, some people will inevitably go against this direction.

Daring leaders give and solicit honest feedback:

Sometimes, the truth hurts. In the early days of starting her company, the author’s workers inquired if they could sit with her and explain some concerns. Surprised, the author listened as her employees went on about how bad they thought she was at time management and pointed out her habit of setting unrealistic deadlines that they often struggle to reach. Although their points were difficult to hear, the author was thankful for her team’s honest feedback because she understands that being open is being kind and unkind to be the opposite. Unfortunately, most of us sidestep clarity in our daily interactions because we feel it’s kinder to do so. But is it?

We tell ourselves that we serve people half-truths to make them feel better, but we usually avoid honest and confrontational discussions because they make us nervous. Clear information would be far more helpful and more useful in the long run. 

Following all, if you fail to open up about your expectations from a subordinate simply because doing so is hard, you’ll likely end up accusing them of failing to deliver down the path.

One of the most notable things the author has learned from years of studying leadership is that leaders need to spend a significant amount of time communicating about their subordinates’ emotions and worries. If they fail to do this, they’ll have to spend even more time trying to manage their workforce’s unproductive and ineffective behavior.

Core values support and guide daring leadership:

The present work can frequently feel like a gladiatorial field – a battle for power that still lacks bravery; lots of blood, wetness, and cuts not a matter of living and dying. During moments of conflict, whether at a job or in our private lives, it’s best sometimes to raise up our hands and exit the arena. Importantly, when we see ourselves face down in the dirt, it’s our choice that causes us to get back up again and continue daring to give it our all.

Our values determine our decisions about what is most valuable in our lives. The bravest leaders that the author came across during her study had the most accuracy around their values. During times of change and vulnerability, their values were crucial to support them, a ‘North Star’ that helped lead them through years of darkness. They were also willing to take risks, confident in knowing that their values would guide them through without compromising their integrity.

Narrowing down the two things most valuable to us is a great exercise. The author, for instance, narrowed hers down to the essential benefits of strength and hope. Why two? The author’s investigation, received from hundreds of discussions with global official directors, uncovered that most leaders have ten or more bedrock values. The leaders most prepared to experience vulnerability and exhibit courage, on the other hand, tied themselves to no more than two. It makes a lot of sense – two values are easy to maingtain. But if every single value on the less daring leaders’ long lists is profoundly valuable to them, then none are truly driving their behavior. Consequently, their values become an insignificant list of words that makes them feel good.

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

-Brené Brown

Trust is a fundamental and multifaceted highlight to our performance relations:

How reliable are we, and how many people do we truly trust? Astonishingly, most people state that they are trustworthy but trust just a small number of people. These are trust issues most of us suffer from.

First, though, we need to ask ourselves: What does the idea of trust mean? The author’s researchers’ team has pinpointed seven diverse attitudes that encourage confidence expressed as BRAVING. We can use BRAVING in a useful way to record strengths and areas for improvement in working relationships with subordinates.

The B stands for boundaries. The R stands for the reliability or doing what we say we will. The A stands for accountability. The V stands for the vault. The I stands for integrity. The N stands for non-judgment. The G stands for generosity.

Implement these ways to become a triumphant, honest leader.

Being brave demands failure:

Believe it or not, company leaders could learn a lot from skydivers. Before skydivers are allowed to hit the skies, they consume various coaching sessions learning how to hit the floor by slightly jumping off ladders carefully. Here is where leaders should take notes. If you’re going to be courageous, then it’s best to prepare yourself for a rough landing. In other terms, you need to ascertain how to be flexible.

Unsurprisingly, things are done differently in business than in skydiving. Leaders and leadership coaches are usually aware of the need for resilience training. It’s comparable to teaching newbie skydivers the right way to hit the ground after they’ve already landed, or worse when they’re already in free-fall.

But there is a better way. Research has shown that when it comes to teaching leaders resilience skills, timing is everything. Specifically, teaching them early on as part of a more comprehensive training program is more likely to demonstrate courageous behaviors. Why? They are utterly confident in their ability to get back up again if their bold action doesn’t pay off.

Interestingly, this importance of flexibility is nothing unique. You may well have seen company catchwords asking you to “fall forward” and “fail fast!”. But without a resilience experiences program to back them up, implemented at an early stage in a leader’s development, these slogans can do more harm than good.

Perfectionism holds us back from self-improvement and true courage:

Right from childhood, we seek to shield ourselves from vulnerable feelings like disappointment, hurt, and diminishment. By building a wall out of our behaviors, emotions, and thoughts, we protect ourselves from the big imperfect world. But to live and lead with courage, we must let ourselves be vulnerable, as we already know. It means letting down our walls and recognizing protective thoughts and behaviors for the defense mechanisms they are.

One of the most pervasive types of self-protection is perfectionism. To become daring leaders, we must rid ourselves of perfectionism. To do so, let’s start by busting some of the myths around this damaging phenomenon.

Perhaps the most damaging myth of all is that perfectionism is about self-improvement and striving for excellence. But in fact, perfectionism is really about attempting to win approval. Most perfectionists were born in environments that praise their exceptional performance, for example, in sports or school. As a result, perfectionists develop a damaging belief system that follows them into their adult lives, anchoring their whole sense of self in accomplishments and brilliant execution.

Perfectionists get stuck into an exhausting behavioral pattern of pleasing people, perfecting efforts, performing for others, and proving themselves. People with a healthy drive for success, on the other hand, are much more self-focused and inspired by asking themselves how they can improve. It’s a stark contrast with perfectionists, who ask, “what might others think of me?”.

“Research participants with the highest levels of resilience can get back up after a disappointment or a fail, and are more courageous and tenacious as a result of it.’

-Brené Brown

The armor of perfection isn’t always sufficient for leaders:

Leaders who armor themselves with perfectionism often assume that this way of thinking will bring them success. They couldn’t be more wrong because there is a much darker side to perfectionism, going way beyond the need to please.

Disturbingly, research shows that perfectionism is associated with addiction, depression, and anxiety. Furthermore, perfectionists are more likely to miss opportunities and experience mental paralysis that keeps them from fully engaging in life. Why? Because their fears of being criticized or not meeting others’ expectations keep them from entering the messy arena of life, where healthy competition and striving for true greatness occur.

To become a daring leader, take off the armor of perfectionism and jump into the fray of life. You might make mistakes in the process, but you’ll gain something valuable in exchange: the courage to succeed and lead.