1-Sentence-Summary: Dare To Lead dispels common myths about modern-day workplace culture and shows you that true leadership requires nothing but vulnerability, values, trust, and resilience.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
What’s the most important leadership role you’ve ever had? Was it something small, like being the captain of your high school football team? Or something big, like overseeing a business unit with dozens, maybe hundreds of employees? Whichever it may be, there’s a high chance you fell into one of the many leadership traps laid out in modern culture.
Maybe, you thought you had to look strong and didn’t admit a failure. Maybe, you failed to tell the truth because you didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. These things often happen, especially in the office, because that’s how leadership is portrayed in society. Often, however, we later find out it’s the exact opposite behavior that would’ve yielded the best result.
In Dare To Lead, best-selling author Brené Brown shines a light on these opposite behaviors. Her goal is to help you step into leadership and take charge, not despite, but because of all these misguided notions.
Here are 3 lessons that will help you be a courageous, exemplary leader:
- Courage and vulnerability always go together.
- If you can narrow your core values down to just two, you can navigate even the toughest of times.
- The seven behaviors that create trust can be summed up with the acronym BRAVING.
Let’s take some of Brené’s hard-won insights from decades of work to help you Dare To Lead!
Lesson 1: You can never be courageous without being vulnerable.
Brené has spoken with thousands of leaders through her work as a researcher. Even the toughest among them eventually admitted that, indeed, acts of courage were always accompanied by the feeling of vulnerability. I can prove this to you.
Let’s first define ‘vulnerability’ as “the universal emotion we feel when times are risky and uncertain or we are at the mercy of other people’s actions.” Given that definition, I dare you to think of a time when you did something that required courage that didn’t also require you to be vulnerable. It’s impossible, right?
The truth is whenever we choose courage, we also choose vulnerability. Because that’s precisely what courage is about: acting in spite of fear, uncertainty, and potential danger. That’s why Brené is so adamant that vulnerability is not a sign of weakness.
It’s actually a sign of strength.
Lesson 2: Focus on two core values to endure any adversity.
One factor Brené determined as incredibly beneficial to good leadership is having clarity about your values. Values are the human ideals we consider as most important in our lives. Some examples of values are courage, freedom, justice, kindness, discipline, family, and honesty.
People who know what their values are have an easier time dealing with adversity. They can let their values guide them. They’re something to hold on to in dark and difficult times. They allow you to be resilient and do what’s necessary. But while making a list of your values is a simple exercise, Brené adds a caveat to their effectiveness.
If you really want your values to guide you well, focus on only two of them. Prioritizing two values above all others gives you a specific ideal to turn to when the going gets tough. It’s easy to compile 15 great values, but when you tell yourself all of them matter, you’ll end up prioritizing none of them.
Picking two values is a lot harder, but it’ll pay off! I think mine would be honesty and self-control.
Lesson 3: To create trust in all your relationships, remember the acronym BRAVING.
We all consider ourselves trustworthy people, yet we only confide in a small, carefully crafted selection of others. I guess the numbers don’t add up. It’s like we can’t all be above average drivers. Someone has to lower the standard. I think when it comes to trust, that someone is all of us.
Luckily, Brené’s team has compiled a list of seven behaviors that help us cultivate more trust in our relationships with others:
- Boundary-setting. Clarifying and respecting each other’s limits is crucial to a collaborative relation.
- Reliability. If we can’t rely on another to keep our word, what good is it?
- Accountability. Making mistakes is normal. Sweeping them under the rug isn’t.
- Vault-closing. Trust is a safeguard for information. If you don’t break my confidentiality, I won’t break yours.
- Integrity. Whatever your core two values are, never compromise them.
- Non-judgement. When you replace judgment with curiosity, you turn isolation into connection.
- Generosity. Leave lots of room in your interpretations and expectations. This way, others will always turn to you.
An easy acronym you can remember these behaviors by starts with the first letter of each word: BRAVING. Whenever you’re in a difficult situation that requires communication to solve, you can dig into these behaviors and find the one that’ll help get things back on track.
Hopefully, they will give you the courage you need to…Dare To Lead.
My personal take-aways
Brené has written multiple books about the fundamental aspects of being human, like I Thought It Was Just Me, The Gifts Of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, and Rising Strong. While she has an academic background, I wouldn’t get hung up on the science aspect of any of them. What they’re really about is finding power from within. To summon the strength to do the right thing, no matter how difficult it might be.
That’s the real reason why I always find comfort in her work. It makes me calm, composed, and gives me the power I need to move on. I have a feeling that, for you too, Dare To Lead will do the same.
What else can you learn from the blinks?
- Why vulnerability is crucial for innovation
- How good leaders elicit honest feedback
- What skydiving can teach us about failure
- Why motivational quotes at the office might do more harm than good
- The true dangers of perfectionism
Who would I recommend the Dare To Lead summary to?
The 16 year old soccer player, who just joined a new team and wants to make an impression, the 34 year old consultant in a tough-guy work environment, who’s afraid of opening up, and anyone who has a tough time naming their top three values.