GIODN Book Review – Dare to Lead by Brene Brown


by Cindy Banyai, P.h.D

Brene Brown has been an icon ever since her Ted Talk on vulnerability went viral in 2011. She is a magical presenter and a relatable writer with her ability to distill researched concepts into useable information and hilarious stories. Her latest book, bestseller Dare to Lead, is described as “the ultimate playbook for developing brave leaders and courageous cultures.” It is an engaging read and has lessons on leadership and vulnerability that can be applied to the office and the home. I led a virtual book club session on it for the Global Institute of Organization Development Network (GIODN) in April. Let’s look at some of the highlights.

What’s the gist?

True leadership requires vulnerability, values, trust, and resilience.

You can never be courageous without being vulnerable

Vulnerability is described as “the universal emotion we feel when times are risky and uncertain, or we are at the mercy of other people’s actions.” The truth is whenever we choose courage, we also choose vulnerability. Vulnerability is not a sign of weakness. This is a significant departure from the traditional ways in which people view vulnerability.

Clear is kind

Leaders must address fears and feelings – creating clarity. They need to create space to understand different perspectives. Leaders need to be brave and enter the cave to get the treasure they seek.


Focus on two core values to endure any adversity. Prioritizing two values above all others gives you a specific ideal to turn to when the going gets tough.

Lose the armor

Leaders need to move from armored leadership, fueled by fear, to daring leadership, fueled by courage. Shame in the workplace manifests as perfectionism, favoritism, gossiping, back-channeling, comparison, self-worth tied to productivity, harassment, and discrimination. Shame causes us to close ourselves off and move away from vulnerability – our protective armor.


This is Dr. Brown’s acronym that lists tactics to help move from armored to daring leadership.

Boundary-setting – Clarifying and respecting each other’s limits is crucial to a collaborative relationship.

Reliability – If we can’t rely on another to keep our word, what good is it?

Accountability – Making mistakes is normal. Sweeping them under the rug isn’t.

Vault-closing – Trust is a safeguard for information. If you don’t break my confidentiality, I won’t break yours.

Integrity – Whatever your core two values are, never compromise them.

Non-judgement – When you replace judgment with curiosity, you turn isolation into connection.

Generosity – Leave lots of room in your interpretations and expectations. This way, others will always turn to you.

Overall this book was a great read with useful and applicable information. I have incorporated many of the strategies from the book into my personal and professional life. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking to improve relationships in their life.

Institute of OD (IOD) offers online Organization Development Certification Programs to help participants gain skills to advance their career in the field of OD.  Each program provides 24 HRCI credits.

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