Global Leadership Summit :: Brene Brown – Leaders Need to be Vulnerable

brene brown

Groundbreaking researcher into the topics of shame, worthiness and courage
Exploring the interplay between vulnerability and empathy, she encourages people to experience “whole-hearted” living from a place of authenticity
A compelling storyteller, her TED talks, The Power of Vulnerability and Listening to Shame are among the most watched on with more than eight million views
A New York Times best-selling author of the recent book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead


Leadership needs the courage to be vulnerable.

  • Leadership needs the courage to be vulnerable.
  • I study vulnerability. I study connection. I study how we feel and what we believe.
  • Today, I want to drop down to something more foundational.
  • Today I want to talk about the irreducible needs of men, women, and children.
  • Love and belonging are irreducible needs of men, women, and children, and in the absence of love and belonging, there is always suffering.
  • People need 3 basic things:
    • To be seen and loved
    • To belong
    • To be brave
  • Connection is why we’re here.
  • We’re neurobiologically hardwired for connection.
  • I think love is messy and hard and a struggle.
  • Love is not a victory march, it’s a cold and broken hallelujah.
  • How many of you feel like love is an important thing to you?
  • How many of you talk about it alot?
  • How many of you have thought about the definition of what it really means?
  • I think we cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and most powerful selves to be deeply seen and known. When we offer that connection to another person with trust, kindness, affection, and respect.
  • I don’t think love is something we give and get. I think it’s something we nurture. I think it’s something that is cultivated.
  • Love is only cultivated between two people when there is self-love in both.
  • Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows.
  • Love is growth through connection.
  • A leader models the courage to ask the questions. It’s not our job to have the answers. It’s often our job to get out of the way of people who have answers.
  • We can’t give what we don’t have.
  • We can’t give people courage when we don’t have courage.
  • We can’t give people a sense of belonging when we don’t have a sense of belonging.
  • We cannot give help when we can’t ask for it.
  • When you judge yourself for asking for help, you are by default always judging other people when you offer help.
  • One way judgment shows up is when you’re deriving your self-worth from being the helper.
  • Professing vs. Practicing
  • Love is a practice. Professing love means very little without practice.
  • The space between how we behave and our aspirational values is where we lose people.
  • This is the disengagement gap.
  • The gap is between what you profess and practice. And this is where we lose people.
  • I switched churches until I found the most imperfect group of people I could find.
  • What kills love, kills organizations
  • Shame, betrayal, blame, disrespect, withholding.
  • Assessing an organization, a community, a church for shame is like doing a termite inspection. You don’t see it on the surface, but it’s a mess.
  • You have to shine a light in some dark places to see what’s going.
  • Shame can only rise to a certain level before people disengage to self-protect.
  • If you see favoritism, that is how shame plays out in organizations.
  • If you want to be innovative, you better be praying for mistakes.
  • How many times did you fail? How quickly did you clean it up? And how did you learn from it?
  • Nothing new can come out of a fear of failure.
  • If you’ve never given a sermon and then wanted to leave town, you’re not trying hard enough.
  • Without failure there can be no innovation.
  • How many of you are blamers?
  • Blame is the simple discharging of pain and discomfort. It has no value whatsoever.
  • Blame has nothing to do with accountability.
  • Blame is absolutely toxic in an organization.
  • Feedback is a function of respect.
  • When we don’t have vulnerable honest conversations with people around feedback, people feel absolutely unseen.
  • You can’t be good at feedback, if you’re not willing to be vulnerable.
  • Feedback by definition should be vulnerable.
  • One of the reasons leaders don’t engage in feedback is because it is so uncomfortable.
  • The number 1 barrier to belonging is fitting in.
  • You have to make space for people to show up and be who they are.
  • We are so desperate for belonging that we build enemies based on the fact that we disagree about the same thing.
  • To provide a place for people where we say the rules are, be here, and be loved.
  • We can’t set it up so that belonging has check boxes, and it’s possible to do something where you don’t belong.
  • Belonging is not a luxury for us. It’s part of our DNA. To be a part of something bigger than us.
  • Be brave.
  • We were born to be brave.
  • You may hear someone say something to you so painful that you change yourself so that you don’t hear that again. That’s not good.
  • “It’s not the critic who counts. It’s not the man who points how the strong man stumbles. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.”
  • My faith is the guiding principle in my life, and it calls on me to be courageous every single day.
  • You can choose courage, or you can choose comfort, but you can’t have both. They are mutually exclusive. So when you sign up to be brave you are signing up to get your butt kicked. But if courage is your value, and it’s a part of who you are, then you have signed up for that.
  • The one thing that you better have with you when you go into that arena is absolute clarity of values, and someone who loves you.
  • If you are not in the arena, also getting your butt kicked on a regular basis, I’m not interested or open to your feedback.
  • As the world has grown, the number of cheap seats have grown.
  • If you’re contributing more than you’re criticizing, then you’re being brave.
  • Being brave is terrifying, but it’s not as scary as getting to the end of our lives and asking “What if I would’ve shown up?”

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