Women Share Wisdom: Dr. Brene Brown Reveals the Qualities of a Leader

Do you have them?

Authored by Raquel Guarino

The 2018 Texas Conference for Women is an annual event designed to empower, inspire, and advise women as they advance in their careers. Content Strategist Raquel Guarino attended the conference and came back with a wealth of new knowledge that anyone could apply to their career or business. In this series called "Women Share Wisdom," Raquel will divulge the tips, tricks, and advice she gained from the successful women she encountered at the event.


Dr. Brene Brown is a research professor from Houston, Texas, whose work focuses on courage, shame, empathy, and vulnerability. Five of her books are New York Times #1 Bestsellers. She is also known for her TED Talk called "The Power of Vulnerability," which has been viewed more than 37 million times. In her keynote speech at the 2018 Texas Conference for Women, Dr. Brown turned her attention toward leadership. In an earlier post, Dr. Brown highlighted the ways that leaders fail, and in this one, she touches on the characteristics of a successful leader.


Skill Set of a Courageous Leader

Rumbling with vulnerability.

In a survey for her research, Dr. Brown asked troops, "Give me any example of courage that you've witnessed or done yourself that didn't involve risk, uncertainty, or emotional exposure." It's impossible, Dr. Brown explained, because there is no courage without vulnerability. In order to be courageous, you need to show up and be seen without knowing the outcome. "And you gotta embrace the suck," she added.


Living into your values.

It's important to "operationalize your values" into two or three behaviors that are real. That means taking those values and assigning a specific action to them. This lets people fully understand what is expected of them without any second guessing.


Read Now Women Share Wisdom: Dr. Brene Brown Explains How Leaders Fail


Braving trust.

"Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind," Dr. Brown said. "You gotta look people in the eye and be brave with people. Even--and especially--when it's uncomfortable."


Learning to rise.

Sometimes we make excuses by creating narratives in our head, but Dr. Brown says that's not the way to go. "When hard things happen, we make up stories that highlight our biggest fears." She suggests being mindful of the "conspiracies and confabulations" we create and to "check out the story you're telling yourself."


Nearing the end of her speech, Dr. Brown advised leaders to shed any concerns they may have about the critics. To the crowd of the 7,500 women she spoke to at the Texas Conference for Women, she paraphrased President Theodore Roosevelt:

The credit belongs to the woman who is in the arena whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood... who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends herself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if she fails, at least fails while daring greatly.


Follow Dr. Brene Brown on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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