Dare to lead summary Blog Feature

“Dare to Lead” Summary: Key Takeaways & Review

Leadership is a multifaceted art form in which we learn to inspire, guide, and empower others to work together toward a collective vision. In this “Dare to Lead” breakdown, we explore the intersection of courage and vulnerability through the words and works of author Brené Brown.

Brown is world-renowned for her groundbreaking work on shame, vulnerability, and empathy. In “Dare to Lead,” she challenges us to redefine what it means to be a leader, unraveling the most crucial leadership qualities that exceptional leaders leverage to foster core values like innovation, inclusivity, and authenticity. 💡

Leaders in any industry can benefit from this book and our summary is a fantastic way to quickly absorb Brown’s many lessons and take the first step toward vulnerable leadership.

Join us as we dare to lead with Brené Brown as our wise and compassionate guide.

“Dare to Lead” Book Summary at Glance

“Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.” by Brené Brown is a roadmap to courageous leadership. It’s brimming with research-backed insights, actionable strategies, and engaging anecdotes. 📖 

In an empirically-based, courage-building journey, Brown calls on leaders and professionals to lead with resilience, authenticity, and a willingness to embrace vulnerability.

The book challenges conventional notions, urging readers to embrace vulnerability, build trust, and prioritize empathy to create a culture of daring leadership. It explores what vulnerability means, building trust, how to have difficult conversations with clarity, and overcoming the fear of failure. 💪

Readers can expect to gain tactical tools, skills, and language to improve their self-worth, team management skills, and problem-solving abilities as they work to become great leaders.

Key Takeaways From “Dare to Lead” by Brene Brown

“Dare to Lead” is a comprehensive four-part book commonly paired with the “Dare to Lead Read-Along Workbook” to improve the reader’s ability to apply the lessons in an increasingly competitive world. 

We encourage you to read the book and explore every nuanced lesson hidden within its pages. You’ll learn visualization techniques, the destructive traits of perfectionism, and multiple skill sets to give you an (empathetic) edge in the complex world of leadership. 🥇

Here are six key takeaways to get you started.

Courageous leadership

Brown explains the importance of taking risks, facing uncertainty, and sitting with discomfort. This involves adopting a growth mindset, curating curiosity, and being honest with your team members about your shortcomings.

Vulnerability as a strength

Brown teaches that vulnerability isn’t a weakness—it’s a source of strength. The book explores how you can become a courageous leader by removing your armor, becoming a learner (not a “knower”), embracing vulnerability, and facing insecurities. 

Empathy in action

Empathy is a cornerstone of effective leadership, and Brown discusses the many benefits of understanding and sharing the feelings of others. This style of brave leadership improves everything from encouraging collaboration to fostering connection. 🤝

Clear purpose and values

Team members planning and brainstorming using ClickUp's Whiteboard
Brainstorm, plan, strategize, and streamline communication in real-time to ship projects faster with ClickUp Whiteboards

Motivating a team is tied to a clear sense of purpose and values in “Dare to Lead.” Brown encourages leaders to communicate a clear, compelling vision so each team member understands how they contribute to the organization’s mission and values.

Self-compassion as courage

Brown’s approach to leadership emphasizes self-awareness and compassion as you learn to lead with vulnerability. According to Brown, vulnerability is an act of courage; even the most daring leaders can encounter old (and new) wounds that they’ll need to address with compassion. 🌻

Daring leadership > armored leadership

“Dare to Lead” presents armor and self-protection as the most significant barrier to leadership. Instead of residing within your armory, Brown encourages you to embrace leadership with trust, vulnerability, and authenticity in every aspect of your role.

7 Behaviors That Make Up Trust

“Dare to Lead” unravels the seven pillars of trust that shape exceptional leaders, providing a source of courage and strength to connect each team member with their true potential.

Brown presents these with the acronym BRAVING. Here’s what it’s all about:

  • Boundaries: Define and respect clear personal and professional boundaries to establish a sense of safety and reliability
  • Reliability: Deliver on your commitments and expectations consistently to demonstrate accountability and dependability
  • Accountability: Take responsibility for your mistakes and make amends when appropriate to contribute to transparent and trusting relationships
  • Vault (Keeping Confidences): Refrain from sharing information or experiences told to you in confidence so your team members know that any information shared is always confidential
  • Integrity: Act genuinely, honestly, and morally to strengthen trust, demonstrate ethical behavior, and remain true to your authentic self
  • Non-judgment: Create an environment of non-judgment where individuals can feel accepted and understood without fearing criticism
  • Generosity: Engage in acts of kindness and genuine concern for the well-being, happiness, and success of others to build a foundation of trust

These seven behaviors provide a framework for building trust within teams, organizations, and daily life. “Dare to Lead” emphasizes them as the foundation for genuine, meaningful interactions between leaders and their team members.

Here are some inspiring “Dare to Lead” quotes, plus a few bonus gems from Brené Brown’s other famous works:

  • “If we want people to fully show up, to bring their whole selves including their unarmored, whole hearts—so that we can innovate, solve problems, and serve people—we have to be vigilant about creating a culture in which people feel safe, seen, heard, and respected.” — “Dare to Lead”
  • “Trust is the stacking and layering of small moments and reciprocal vulnerability over time. Trust and vulnerability grow together, and to betray one is to destroy both.” — “Dare to Lead”
  • “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.” — “Dare to Lead”
  • “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” — “Daring Greatly”
  • “I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. With that definition in mind, let’s think about love …. Love is uncertain. It’s incredibly risky. And loving someone leaves us emotionally exposed. Yes, it’s scary, and yes, we’re open to being hurt, but can you imagine your life without loving or being loved?” — “Daring Greatly”

More Lessons From Brené Brown’s “Dare to Lead”

Our summary isn’t done yet! Brené Brown has many valuable lessons to teach that are invaluable regardless of your learning, leadership, or work style.

Here are some of the many gems from Brown’s collection of works.

Four destructive traits of perfectionism

Brown does more than caution against perfectionism. She has identified the four destructive traits that can cause a tendency towards perfectionism. They include:

  1. Fear of vulnerability that leads to an unwillingness to take risks
  2. A constant sense of never feeling that you’re “enough”
  3. Attempts to use perfection as a shield against judgment 🛡️
  4. Erosion of creativity and innovation because of a fear of failure

Shame resilience

Brown has received acclaim for her shame resilience theory, which she discusses in multiple books.

“I learned that we resolve this concern by understanding our vulnerabilities and cultivating empathy, courage, and compassion—what I call shame resilience,” she explains.

Brown’s shame resilience theory involves recognizing and understanding the experience of shame and navigating through it by maintaining a sense of self-worth and empathy.

The goal of this practice is to help a person overcome the experience of shame so they can experience more beneficial (and enjoyable) emotions instead.

Learn to skydive

No, not literally. (Unless you want to!) 🪂

This lesson comes from Brown’s book “Rising Strong,” in which she likens leadership to skydiving.

She suggests that individuals learn to lead the same way a person learns to skydive.

You don’t start by jumping out of a plane; you begin by learning how to land and fly in safe, simple environments. From there, you learn by completing tandem jumps with an expert (literally) at your back.

Likewise, she suggests that leaders learn the foundational skills first and slowly rise to their positions with help and support. In other words, we start by learning to rise before jumping out of the plane towards vulnerability.

Four skill sets

Brené Brown identifies four essential skill sets within “Dare to Lead,” including:

  1. Rumbling with (aka discussing) vulnerability to better face and embrace uncertainty
  2. Living according to your values and aligning your actions with your core beliefs
  3. Braving trust so you can establish and maintain connections through your behaviors
  4. Learning to rise and be resilient by reckoning with emotions, rumbling with stories, and rewriting narratives to learn from and grow from failures

You can explore how you perform in these categories with Brown’s Daring Leadership Assessment, which focuses on these four skills. They’re also covered in depth between the pages of “Dare to Lead.”

Curiosity and grounded confidence

This summary wouldn’t be complete without touching on curiosity and grounded confidence. Brown presents these as essential elements of effective leadership and connections.

Curiosity is a genuine interest in understanding the perspectives of others and promoting a culture of learning from the position of a learner.

Grounded confidence is rooted in self-awareness, authenticity, and balancing vulnerability with a strong sense of one’s capabilities. 🎯

Together, these concepts contribute to resilient and empathetic leadership that encourages growth, collaboration, and trust.

What to Do After Finishing “Dare to Lead”

Brené Brown is more than the author of “Dare to Lead”—she’s one of the leading subject matter experts on vulnerability. 🏆

Brown is a Research Professor at the University of Houston, and her books have topped the New York Times Bestsellers list a staggering six times. The list doesn’t stop there; she’s also a two-time award-winning podcast host, the star of two documentaries, and so much more, but we digress.

After you’ve finished “Dare to Lead,” here are some of her best works to explore: 

The beauty of Brené Brown’s work on vulnerability is that you can start with any of these and learn skills to help you become a better leader.

We suggest starting with the TED Talk, a bite-sized introduction to Brown’s way of thought. From there, “Daring Greatly” is a fantastic second book and one of Brown’s most popular works.

Apply “Dare to Lead” Principles With ClickUp

Learning about leadership principles from a book (or audiobook) is one thing, but how do you apply them?

ClickUp is here to help. 🙂

While we can’t shorten the path to vulnerability and authenticity, ClickUp can help you apply principles found in “Dare to Lead” and pave the way to succeeding with your professional goals.

Dare to lead summary: tracking team members’ progress in ClickUp
ClickUp helps you track your project’s progress with milestone goals and clear targets

For instance, ClickUp Goals is one of the best tools to help you track overarching objectives and promote clarity within your team. After all, everything is better when everyone is on the same page.

ClickUp Reporting is another excellent way to improve your leadership style. It has tools to make sure you know things like:

  • Who’s working on what?
  • Who needs more motivation?
  • Who’s crushing it?
Dare to lead summary: ClickUp's Gantt chart view
Benefit from real-time reporting on project metrics with customizable ClickUp Views

Pair our reporting tools with the ClickUp Leadership Team Health Monitor Template to maximize the benefits. This template helps you gather real-time insights, track progress over time, and identify areas for potential growth to maximize your leadership group’s potential.

Screenshot of ClickUp's Leadership Team Health Monitor Template
Whether you’re supporting a complex C-suite or a small executive team, ClickUp’s Leadership Team Health Monitor Template will help you maximize the potential of your leadership group

That’s just one option from our library of over 1,000 templates. We have goal-setting templates, HR templates, finance templates, and almost anything else you need, freeing up your time to focus on the bigger things. ⚒️

Whether you need to set up stretch goals, improve your team’s decision-making abilities, or track performance on a new project, ClickUp has you covered.

Dare to Lead, Learn to Rise

Brené Brown’s “Dare to Lead” stands out as a beacon of hope in a world where leadership is often associated with power and control. It calls on today’s courageous leaders to do things differently.

As we conclude our “Dare to Lead” summary, we hope Brown’s insights help you navigate the complexities of the workplace with courage and compassion.

There’s a reason this book topped the New York Times Bestsellers list. It urges leaders to free themselves from the constraints of perfectionism, embrace vulnerability, and establish genuine connections with their team members. ❣️

True leadership is not about maintaining strict control but about being comfortable with uncertainty and fostering trust through authenticity and empathy.

There’s no better time to start than right now. ClickUp can support your journey with some of the best tools around.

Ready to become a daring leader? Sign up with ClickUp—it’s free!

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