UACES Facebook 2023 Leadership Lunch and Learn Book Review Series—Dare to Lead
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2023 Leadership Lunch and Learn Book Review Series—Dare to Lead

by Lisa Davis - March 30, 2023

The March 2023 Leadership Lunch and Learn Book Review Series featured Dare to Lead by Brené Brown. Brandi Berven, an extension specialist – staff development at the University of Tennessee, reviewed Brown's book for our series.

Dare to Lead webinar information

About the Book

The book is based on Brown’s research and interview data collected over 20 years with leaders in organizations. It addresses the need for developing braver leaders and more courageous cultures within organizations.

Watch the Leadership Lunch & Learn book review video recording.

Daring Leadership

Berven said the entire book hinges on the definition of “daring leadership.”

  • Leadership – “A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes and has the courage to develop that potential.”
  • Daring Leadership – “Daring leaders are willing to step up, put themselves out there, and lean into courage … Daring leadership is ultimately about serving other people, not ourselves.”

She said daring leadership has three elements.

  1. You can’t get to courage without rumbling with vulnerability.
  2. Self-awareness and self-love matter. Who we are is how we lead.
  3. Courage is contagious. To scale daring leadership and build courage in teams and organizations, we have to cultivate a culture in which brave work, tough conversations, and whole hearts are the expectation and armor is not necessary or rewarded. A courageous culture is one in which people feel safe, seen, heard, and respected.


Great news! Courage is a learning skill, not a personality trait.

There are four skillsets of courage: 1) Rumbling with vulnerability, 2) Living in our values, 3) Braving trust, and 4) Learning to rise.

Skillset 1: Rumbling with Vulnerability

A rumble is “a discussion, conversation, or meeting defined by a commitment to lean into vulnerability, to stay curious and generous, to stick with the messy middle of problem identification and solving, to take a break and circle back when necessary, to be fearless in owning our parts, and to listen with the same passion with which we want to be heard.”

She said, “More than anything else, when someone says, ‘let’s rumble,’ it cues me to show up with an open heart and mind so we can serve the work and each other, not our egos.”

Skillset 2: Living in Our Values

Values are ways or being or believing that we hold most important. We can’t live into values we can’t name. Our values should be so clear that they do not feel like a choice, but a definition of us. Here’s an exercise to consider. Try to narrow your values to the two most important. Here are some questions to ask:

  • Does this define me?
  • Is this who I am when I am at my best?
  • Is this a filter I use to make hard decisions?

Skillset 3: Braving Trust

“BRAVING is an acronym.

B = Boundaries—Setting clear boundaries of what is okay and what is not okay.

R = Reliability—Doing what you say you will do.

A = Accountability—Own your mistakes, make amends, and apologize when needed.

V = Vault—Keep confidences, not sharing information or experiences that are not yours.

I = Integrity—Choosing courage to do what is right over what is easy and comfortable.

N = Nonjudgment—Ask what we need and talk about how we feel without fear of judgment.

G = Generosity—To extend the most generous interpretation of someone’s intentions or actions.

Skillset 4: Learning to Rise

She said, if we don’t have the skills to get back up, we may not risk falling. That limits our ability to be courageous and daring leaders. The author outlines three parts of learning to rise.

  1. The Reckoning—The moment you realize you are emotionally hooked about something and then get curious about it.
  2. The Rumble—Moving from the story we tell ourselves to a true story we can address.
  3. The Revolution—After reckoning with emotion and rumbling with vulnerability, the revolution is a transformative change in your thoughts and beliefs.

Brandi Berven photoBerven shared a few key takeaways:

  • Courage is a learnable skill.
  • Rumbling with vulnerability is the fundamental skill of courage building.
  • Left unchecked, shame slowly eats away at innovation, trust, connection, and culture.
  • Empathy is key to daring leadership and culture built on connection and trust.
  • Resources: Dare to Lead Hub - Brené Brown (

About the Series

The Leadership Lunch and Learn Book Review Series features leadership experts from across the south. Each presenter reviews a leadership development book. The series gives you the opportunity to hear the cliff notes version of many popular leadership development books. Join us for future book reviews.

  • April, 26, 2023 – Triggers authored by Marshall Goldsmith and reviewed by Tia Gregory, data management coordinator, Mississippi State University| Register for this session