What It Takes to Be a Great Leader in Today's World

leadership reading list
Annie Bauer, Digital Biz Strategist reading Dare to Lead by Brené Brown


What does it take to be a leader in today's world?

Brené says early on in her book,

"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."

This is one of the best books I have read in years. Brené Brown takes her years of insight and extensive research of shame, vulnerability, and courage and puts it into a book specifically directed at how to be a leader in today's world.



Brown's call to action is that the world needs courageous, vulnerable, empathetic, and outspoken leaders to lead us in a new way. She urges us to

  • embrace higher standards of behavior
  • become connected to our teams and communities
  • be courageous enough to feel the fear but step up and be leaders anyway.

We can all be leaders: in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our businesses, and in the greater realm of the world. In my estimation, this book should be a must-read in all schools, universities, and businesses. The need for ethical, authentic, moral, and brave leaders at this point in our history is critical.

We live in a culture formed by scarcity, fear, and uncertainty, and the need for us to invest in ourselves and those around us as leaders requires skill-building. The path to our becoming better is learn how to develop empathy, connection, and courage. This is not something we are universally taught.

However, I firmly believe that development of skill-building in these areas will take us all to a new way of connecting and leading the world that challenges the status quo.

My hope is that you learn from this book--and any other sources such as books, courses, and communities that will teach all of us how to empower our lives and those around us. We can begin here and learn the foundational tools necessary.

Finally, I would encourage everyone to start showing up in a more vulnerable, honest, and courageous way. Vocalize it. Lead your families and communities. Don't tolerate a status quo that is built on tearing others down and creating fear to exist.

It's your world. It's our world. And it's up to us to get engaged and be the change we want to see for ourselves and future generations.

I took the Daring Leadership Assessment mentioned in this book, and I hope you will, too. I would love to have a discussion about your results and how you would like to impact the world. Email me with your comments at [email protected].

You can also print out the Daring Feedback: The Engaged Feedback Checklist from daretolead.brenebrown.com. I have it hanging next to my desk. Every day I look at the checklist to see if I am showing up as an engaged leader. You can find this printout and more by going to this site.



Dare to Lead is packed with wisdom, research, skill-building tools, and support for becoming a courageous leader of the 21st century.

You'll learn:

  • What courage really looks like
  • Why leadership should be based on vulnerability and empathy
  • How to connect with your team, family, and community through fearless conversations using better communication and tools
  • The difference between shame and guilt
  • Why we need moral, ethical, grounded, and brave leaders more than ever
  • That a leader is anyone, and the call to action is for all of us, not just those with titles
  • True leaders live into their values and don’t stay silent on the hard things
  • Clear is kind, unclear is unkind
  • What healthy boundaries look like and why you should be setting them



Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, is a research professor at the University of Houston, where she holds the Huffington Foundation-Brené Brown Endowed Chair at the Graduate College of Social Work.

She has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of four #1 New York Times bestsellers: Braving the Wilderness, Rising Strong, Daring Greatly, and The Gifts of Imperfection.

Her TED talk--"The Power of Vulnerability"--is one of the top five most-viewed TED talks in the world, with more than thirty-five million views.

Brown lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, Steve, and their children, Ellen and Charlie.

(from Dare to Lead by Brené Brown)

 Pick up your copy of Dare to Lead here.