Daring Leadership is Teachable, Observable, and Measurable

December 3, 2018 Sarah Mulcahy

“Embodying and practicing gratitude changes everything. It is not a personal construct, it’s a human construct – a unifying part of our existence – and it’s the antidote to foreboding joy, plain and simple.” – Brené Brown, “Dare to Lead

Dr. Brené Brown

Last year, Brené Brown led a full-on dance party for Workhuman Live attendees in Austin. Her keynote was a blend of stories and research – a solid defense of vulnerability in the workplace and in life.

On the heels of releasing her latest book, “Dare to Lead,” we are so excited to announce Brené will be back at WorkHuman 2019 in Nashville, March 18-21, to talk about the teachable skills needed for daring leadership.

That word “teachable” is important. In HR, we’ve all seen our share of ineffective and disengaged leaders. It would be easy to throw our hands up at the prospect that some people can’t get better at leadership – that it’s a fixed trait.

The good news is that Dr. Brené Brown’s latest research, the culmination of a seven-year study looking at the future of leadership and the barriers and obstacles to daring leadership, reveals that courage is a collection of four skill sets that can be taught, observed, and measured.

A research professor at the University of Houston, her TED Talk – The Power of Vulnerability – is one of the top five most viewed TED Talks in the world with more than 36 million views. In addition to her research and five #1 New York Times best-sellers, Brené  is the founder and CEO of Brené Brown Education and Research Group.

In her new book, Brené introduces the idea of armored leadership:

In teams and organizations where heart and emotion, especially vulnerability, are seen as liabilities, the culture or in some cases individual leaders strike a bargain with our grifter egos to lock up the heart and seal off feelings. They reward armor like perfectionism, emotional stoicism, the false compartmentalizing of our lives and work, keeping things easy and comfortable instead of embracing the necessary tough and awkward conversations, and they value all-knowing over always learning and staying curious.

One type of armored leadership she mentions is working from scarcity and squandering opportunities for joy and recognition. Joy is one of the most vulnerable emotions we experience, and for that reason many leaders are afraid to lean into joy at work. That means they don’t celebrate team victories or recognize individual accomplishments.

A daring leadership response to this type of culture is to practice gratitude and celebrate milestones at work. As Brené points out, the companies that focus on appreciation and gratitude reap dividends in terms of employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention.

At Workhuman Live, Brené will delve into the ten cultural barriers to courageous leadership and explore the learning and unlearning that underpins brave work, tough conversations, and showing up with your whole heart.

Are you brave enough to join us? 

About the Author

Sarah Mulcahy

Sarah is senior content marketing manager at Workhuman. When not writing and reading about all things culture, leadership, recognition, and appreciation, she enjoys iced coffee, running, and spending time with her daughters, Mabel and Eva.

Follow on Twitter