The cover of Dare to Lead

Dare to Lead

Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

by Brené Brown

This was another book I read to try and understand my manager’s leadership style. Between this and Radical Candor, I see a pattern.

There’s some good material in Dare to Lead. The best parts delve into the research Brown has done, featuring quotes and case studies of scenarios where “brave” — emotionally-aware —leadership drove positive outcomes.

Other parts of the books are just platitudes. “Rumble with vulnerability,” “embrace the suck,” “learn to rise,” etc are cloying catchphrases, shorthand for more nuanced aspects of emotionally-aware leadership.

The similarities with Radical Candor are most apparent in what I think of as “catnip for sociopaths.” It’s ok, Brown says, to cry at work — so if you make someone cry, maybe you’re just doing a really good job at being emotionally engaged. The paradox is scary: you can cause emotional responses (good and bad) by being emotionally present yourself, or by being completely emotionally removed.

Overall, I think the book isn’t really the best way to get at mindful and compassionate leadership. But it might be worth the short read if you work with any of Brené Brown’s acolytes.