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Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. Hardcover – October 9, 2018
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From the Publisher
“Brené visited Pixar to talk with our filmmakers. Her message was important, as movies are best when they come from a place of vulnerability, when the people who make them encounter setbacks and are forced to overcome them, when they are willing to have their asses handed to them. It is easy to sit back and talk about the values of a safe and meaningful culture, but extraordinarily difficult to pull it off. You don’t achieve good culture without constant attention, without an environment of safety, courage, and vulnerability. These are hard skills, but they are teachable skills. Start with this book.”—Ed Catmull, president, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios
“Whether you’re leading a movement or a start-up, if you’re trying to change an organizational culture or the world, Dare to Lead will challenge everything you think you know about brave leadership and give you honest, straightforward, actionable tools for choosing courage over comfort.”—Tarana Burke, senior director, Girls for Gender Equity, founder, the Me Too movement
“We asked Brené to bring her work on courage and vulnerability to our Air Force base. This is a tough audience, many of them with significant combat experience. Within five minutes, you could have heard a pin drop. Brené cuts through the noise and speaks to what makes us human and makes the mission happen. Dare to Lead is about real leadership: tenacious, from the heart, and full of grit.”—Brigadier General Brook J. Leonard, United States Air Force
“Brené is Google Empathy Lab’s Obi-Wan Kenobi. She has profoundly inspired our product leaders to design in and embrace vulnerability, rather than engineer it out. It’s a critical and transformative act to bring your alive, messy, wholehearted human self to work every day. Dare to Lead is the skillful and empowering Jedi training we have all been waiting for.”—Danielle Krettek, founder, Google Empathy Lab
“Applying the principles from Dare to Lead to my work as a principal has transformed the way I show up with parents, students, and colleagues, and how I lead. Brené’s words, stories, and examples connect with our hearts and minds, and her actionable approach gives us the tools to be braver with our lives and our work.”—Kwabena Mensah, PhD, assistant superintendent, Fort Bend ISD, Principal of the Year, Katy ISD and Texas Alliance of Black School Educators
“Brené truly gives it all away in Dare to Lead. Courage is a set of teachable skills, and she teaches us exactly how to build those muscles with research, stories, examples, and new language. The future belongs to brave leaders, and she’s written the ultimate playbook for daring leadership.”—Scott Harrison, founder and CEO, charity: water
About the Author
- Item Weight : 15.4 ounces
- Hardcover : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 8925598914
- ISBN-13 : 978-0399592522
- Product Dimensions : 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
- Publisher : Random House; First Edition (October 9, 2018)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : 0399592520
- Best Sellers Rank: #204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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We all belong to groups, whether it’s at work, in social and community groups or clubs, etc., as members or leaders. And while this book is primarily aimed at leaders in the workplace, any group member would benefit from this knowledge and advice. Over the years, my groups have included my family of origin, my family from marriage, educational groups, event groups, competitive groups, etc. I have always been a good worker, boss, teacher, and leader of different groups. But “good” leaves a lot of leeway for the fact that a few times I have really screwed up in the very ways that Brené discusses. I look back and there were times that my perfectionism, my black-and-white rule-following, and my tendency to sometimes rush to judgement really hurt people. Not to mention, my shame affected my leadership.
As I read Dare to Lead, I kept flashing to situations in my past and a couple of people I would really like to go back apologize to, one lady in particular. (Well, really, I want to travel back in time and not screw up to begin with, but sadly that’s just a fantasy.) A bit of background: I was raised in a very abusive family, physically and emotionally. My family of origin’s modus operandi was to judge, criticize, and belittle each member constantly. Mistakes and weaknesses were never forgiven, but held up, mocked, and laughed about over and over, on top of physical and emotional abuse.
Armed with self-help books (yes, my family mocks my reliance on self-help books) and therapy, I determined to leave all that behind and become a “normal” person very different from my parents. But sometimes that background messes with my current life. (As Brené says: “What’s perhaps most insidious in power over dynamics is that those who are powerless typically repeat the same behavior when the tables are turned and they are promoted into power.” I would add, sometimes against our best intentions.)
There was a time that my insecurity in running a large group led me to take a friend’s reported actions as betrayal. The resulting emotional backlash caused me to handle the situation so badly that I ended up being judgmental and majorly unkind to my friend to such a degree that the title “friend” no longer applies. I should have known better; I should have acted better. It wasn’t just that I hurt my reputation, interfered with how well the group was functioning, looked unprofessional to a hosting facility… The absolutely worst part was that I hurt another person - an innocent person. I broke every tenet I had set for my life because I didn’t take the time to step back and to be a good leader; I just reacted. I went right into shame and blame because I had such an inner fear of being disrespected and betrayed. As a consequence, I disrespected and betrayed my friend by treating her unkindly.
In addition, I almost shut down a service that was helping over 1,000 families over the incident. I let fear rule my actions (“I don’t do vulnerability”) and cut my helpers loose (“I can go it alone”). I curtailed offerings and cancelled events. I had listened to and internalized comments from critics as they touched upon the worthlessness instilled by my parents and siblings. (Many people are eager to criticize, and it takes wisdom and practice to let go of unhelpful criticism and use the helpful input for growth.) My actions influenced some members to take sides in a group that shouldn’t have had “sides.” (“Increased polarization, rampant dehumanization of people who are different from us, and our growing inability to ditch the echo chambers for real critical thinking.”) After working alone for another year or so, I handed off the group to a team of ladies that I knew would do a better job than I was doing.
I believe if I had read Dare to Lead first, I would have had the tools in place to respond appropriately in a way that would have fostered group cohesion, eliminated problems, and just generally been a better leader for my group. In addition, I ponder Brené’s adage that 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.” I’ve considered going back and apologizing to my ex-friend many times, but I’ve always been afraid that it would simply set off more negativity. But it was my lack of judgement and responding with emotions from my past that caused the rift, and I’d like her to know that I take full responsibility for that. Is it too late to go back and tell this person how badly I feel about being a leader who truly mishandled the situation? Would it make a difference to her?
I plan to reread this life-changing book with my husband and daughter, both IT professionals, so they can learn from it while I benefit from the review. Dare to Lead contains wisdom to guide leaders who want to nurture safe and effective work groups. It can also benefit leaders and members of any other groups or teams, whether for a sport, church, political group, competitive team, etc. Dare to Lead would also be a great resource for members to use to kindly hold leaders accountable. There is no downside to taking this entire book in as heart knowledge and incorporating it into our lives. And the upside is that we will not only improve the quality of our own lives, but the lives of those we interact with.
Highly recommended for the universe at large. This is the first book I’ve read by Brené Brown; I’ll definitely be reading more!
Edited for clarity.
Page 70 sums up the journey her book will take you on should you chose to go. It reads, "Leaders must either invest a reasonable amount of time attending to fears and feelings, or squander an unreasonable amount of time trying to manage ineffective and unproductive behavior."
Pages 76 and 77 give you sixteen specific examples of Armored Leadership and Daring Leadership. You'll recognize them immediately. And you will be able to call out the behaviors that are holding you back or propelling you forward. On subsequent pages she unpacks the examples so that we can put the words to work for ourselves and our colleagues.
While I understand this book was about "daring" to lead, I was disappointed that this book had a narrow scope of management in slower paced environments (I work in a tech company - extending timelines, circling back, etc. are not luxuries I can use in my day to day). Additionally, I hoped this was going to focus on leading and not direct management, as leading comes in so many forms and not always in formal direct ways. Lastly, many of the ideas and stories shared were reused from other books and shaped into the theme of leadership.
Top reviews from other countries
So when I started on a leadership course at work, I decided to buy Dare To Lead by Brené Brown.
Dare To Lead is about leadership that is vulnerable, values-based, trusting and resilient. The book is split into four parts.
The first and biggest part is Rumbling with Vulnerability. In this section Brown discusses what vulnerability is, why it is important, myths about vulnerability, using courage to drop our armor as leaders, dealing with shame and empathy and curiosity grounded in confidence.
The second part is Living Into Our Values. Values are very important to me, so unsurprisingly this was my favorite part of the book. This section covers what our own values are, what organisational values can be and how to turn values into measurable behaviours. The List of Values activity I completed with some of my colleagues at work and I found it an incredibly useful in terms of learning more about them and what they value. Since I have also contributed to a consultation at work around our organisational values.
The third part of the book is Braving Trust. This section of the book is all about building trust as a leader and recognising how trust is built up gradually over time and can be easily lost.
The fourth part of the book is Learning to Rise which is all about resilience. This part of the book is about recognising emotion within ourselves and others as a leader, being curious about emotions and being self-aware enough to recognise what is going on emotionally for ourselves and others.
Throughout Dare To Lead are many helpful strategies that if implemented would make you a better leader. Including strategies around: having difficult conversations, increasing self-awareness, being aware of the values of ourselves and of the people we lead, being aware of the stories we tell ourselves (that may or may not be true), how to build trust and courage in the people that you lead.
Dare To Lead is written in a way that feels like you’re having a conversation with Brown. She gives examples from her own experience and also asks open questions styled in a coaching method to encourage the reader to think about how these experiences relate to their own life.
About Brené Brown
Brené Brown is a Research Professor at the University of Huston, is a Social Worker and delivers talks and training on leadership around innovation, creativity and change. Brown has worked with Pixar (Disney) and Facebook around leadership.
Dare To Lead by Brené Brown is available to buy on Amazon.