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Book Review: 'Dare to Lead' by Brené Brown

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Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead explores the premise that leadership takes courage. The book looks into what makes leaders strong, to rise above and face situations with conviction. Leadership, Brown suggests, isn't about titles, status, or power but about the ability to take responsibility in understanding the potential of people and ideas, and finding the best way to realise that potential to full effect. This book delves into the core concepts of leadership that are human. In a world dominated by fear, scarcity and uncertainty, certain skills are essential to navigate the world better. These sets of skills transcend what AI and machines offer. They're skills born from human emotions, empathy, connections and courage. Brown demonstrates that daring leadership skills are teachable, and available for anyone to learn and execute so as to better lead in all areas of life and business. These skills help manage all sorts of difficult scenarios, conversations and challenges. Brown explores the question on how to cultivate brave, daring leaders, while establishing a culture of courage in whatever the workplace is. To be brave isn’t a basic human endeavour, it’s a way to step up and lead life with purpose, action and intention. 

Brown’s Dare to Lead looks into ways to overcome our vulnerabilities to achieve a sense of strength. Which is essential in the art of leading. Vulnerability isn’t a bad word or a weakness, but it’s a conduit — a catalyst to leap forward and be resilient. Drawing examples from real life stories and case studies across life and the business world, Brown enumerates a range of leadership insights that can be put to use by almost anyone prepared to gear up with the right mindset. She introduces the concept of daring leadership, which gets individuals to show up and lead with courage and conviction. While titles and positions of power are useful, they are merely superficial definitions for leaders. What actually matters is the ability to navigate complex situations with grit, which realises the true potential of a leader.

Listening, explained by the art of empathy, is a key factor in understanding how communications work between teams. Brown’s Dare to Lead spotlights the significance of empathy and emotional intelligence as a way to cultivate strong relationships with people and teams. Brown makes the case that leaders who better understand the needs and perspectives of their team members and clients are better prepared to build a greater level of trust and collaboration. This ultimately leads to better performance and greater business outcomes.

Going out of one’s comfort zone is never easy, but daring leaders prepare themselves to accept this challenge. Brown’s Dare to Lead offers practical advice and ideas on how leaders of all levels can acquire the mindset needed to take risks and deal with difficult conversations and pressing situations to drive change that’s meaningful and real.

Clarifying one’s vision and values can help a great deal in moving things forward with conviction. Brown’s Dare to Lead explores the nature of great leaders, who tend to lead with a values-based approach. Once the values are in place, leaders are able to work off it with a greater sense of purpose and conviction. It lets them lead with greater integrity and authenticity, which emanates across workspaces and inspires others to follow. Blending personal stories and real cases, Brown offers examples that demonstrate how values-based leadership leads to leaders being more daring because they’re jumping from solid foundations that gives them the courage and conviction to do so.

Daring leaders get a better grip in managing themselves, and their teams, irrespective of the fast-changing world because they operate from the principles of vulnerability, empathy and values-based decision-making. Brown’s Dare to Lead offers an invigorating take on leadership; that leaders are made, not born. And that the trait of daring leadership can be taught. She suggests that vulnerability is a strength, and thinking helps leaders be seen for who they are, inspiring honest action that can be free from poorly defined reactions and judgements. 

Brown, a professor at the University of Houston, developed Dare to Lead by researching more than 100 leaders across categories. It’s a book filled with personal stories, mistakes and fears that leaders have come to face with, and offers readers a chance to relate with, and be inspired by, in their path to becoming more daring. The book energizes leadership by giving a spotlight to elements like courage, compassion and values that underpin modern daring leadership. Many useful ideas in the art of daring leadership are explored. Such as, the idea that vulnerability is not a weakness, rather the foundation of trust, courage and innovation. The idea that leaders aren’t born, but made. And vulnerability is the way to make leaders. That daring leaders are willing to be empathic, hear others’ points of view, and act accordingly. Dare to Lead is a book that invigorates the nature of leadership by embedding courage, compassion and effectiveness into one solid foundation of daring leadership ethos, which can help anyone upskill their leadership skill. 

Brown’s Dare to Lead inspires readers by suggesting that daring leadership is more about striving, more so than demanding perfection or strategies to manage anxiety. One way she brings this to life is by introducing acronyms like ‘BRAVING’, which stands for Boundaries, Reliability, Accountability, Vault, Integrity, Non-judgement and Generosity. Overall, this book is an excellent read for anyone interested in understanding the art of leadership, and most importantly, leading with a bit more determination and dare to become the most desirable type of leader, that is the daring leader. Get your copy here:



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