“Dare to Lead” is an insightful exploration of what leadership truly entails. Brené Brown, a four-time #1 New York Times bestselling author, dispels the myth that leadership is about titles and power. Instead, she defines a leader as someone who has the courage to recognize and develop potential in people and ideas.
Brown emphasizes the importance of curiosity and questions over pre-packaged answers, and of sharing power rather than hoarding it. She stresses that leaders shouldn’t shy away from difficult conversations and situations, but rather embrace vulnerability as a necessary element of effective leadership.
This daring form of leadership requires a skillset built around deeply human traits—traits that cannot be replicated by machines or AI. In a world increasingly leaning towards technology, Brown argues that what sets us apart is our capacity for empathy, connection, and courage.
The book is based on Brown’s extensive research, spanning over two decades, into the emotions and experiences that infuse our lives with meaning. She draws on seven years of work with transformative leaders and teams across the globe. In these varied contexts, from startups and family businesses to nonprofits and Fortune 50 companies, Brown found a universal question: “How do you cultivate braver, more daring leaders, and how do you embed the value of courage in your culture?”
“Dare to Lead” serves as a response to this question. With her signature no-nonsense style, Brown utilizes research, narratives, and examples to provide a blueprint for daring leadership. She introduces four skill sets that, in her words, are “100% teachable, observable, and measurable.” These skills involve brave work, tough conversations, and showing up with your whole heart—a process that is challenging but ultimately rewarding.
Brown emphasizes the importance of choosing courage over comfort, despite it not being our default choice. The motivation for this choice comes from the desire to live and work bravely—a drive Brown believes is inherent in all of us.
“Dare to Lead” is a compelling call to brave leadership. Whether you’re familiar with Brown’s previous work or new to her ideas, the book serves as an invaluable guide for anyone seeking to step into a leadership role with courage and authenticity. It takes readers on a journey of learning and unlearning, paving the way for a new kind of leadership that prizes empathy, connection, and courage above all else.
Dare to Lead Quotes
Here are some insightful Dare to Lead quotes:
1. “We fail the minute we let someone else define success for us.”
2. “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.”
3. “The only thing I know for sure after all of this research is that if you’re going to dare greatly, you’re going to get your ass kicked at some point. If you choose courage, you will absolutely know failure, disappointment, setback, even heartbreak.”
4. “Don’t grab hurtful comments and pull them close to you by rereading them and ruminating on them. Don’t play with them by rehearsing your badass comeback. And whatever you do, don’t pull hatefulness close to your heart.”
5. “If you have more than three priorities, you have no priorities”
6. “Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio reminds us, “We are not necessarily thinking machines. We are feeling machines that think.”
7. “It turns out that trust is in fact earned in the smallest of moments. It is earned not through heroic deeds, or even highly visible actions, but through paying attention, listening, and gestures of genuine care and connection.”
8. “The courage to be vulnerable is not about winning or losing, it’s about the courage to show up when you can’t predict or control the outcome.”
9. “If you put shame in a petri dish and cover it with judgment, silence, and secrecy, you’ve created the perfect environment for shame to grow until it makes its way into every corner and crevice of your life. If, on the other hand, you put shame in a petri dish and douse it with empathy, shame loses its power and begins to wither. Empathy creates a hostile environment for shame—an environment it can’t survive in, because shame needs you to believe you’re alone and it’s just you.”
10. “People are opting out of vital conversations about diversity and inclusivity because they fear looking wrong, saying something wrong, or being wrong. Choosing our own comfort over hard conversations is the epitome of privilege, and it corrodes trust and moves us away from meaningful and lasting change.”
I hope you find this Dare to Lead summary helpful!