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AWARE Ink Newsletter

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Leaders Are Readers

Updated: Aug 3

Dare to Lead by Brene' Brown

Each month AWARE’s leadership team comes together in person to collaborate and coordinate across service lines, connect and learn from one another and model an effective organizational culture. During each meeting, the team sets aside time to explore ideas from thought leaders across varying industries within the context of our own programs and services. They have embraced the concept “leaders are readers” and are enthusiastic about continuous learning, growth and development.


Last month, we gave you some insight into servant leadership and how we can all become better leaders by helping those around us.


This month, we’ll cover Dare to Lead by Brene Brown. This book covers the topics of courage and vulnerability, the importance of core values and behaviors that help create trust.


One of Brene’s main teachings is that courage is always accompanied by the feeling of vulnerability. Being vulnerable is defined as an emotion we feel when times are uncertain or risky. It’s a time when we are at the mercy of other people’s actions. Can you think of a time like this? Any time you’ve shown courage, it’s been accompanied by that feeling, right? Brene teaches that there is nothing wrong with that feeling. In fact, we should learn to embrace being vulnerable because it is a sign of strength, rather than weakness.

Brene also emphasizes the importance of narrowing down your core values. She recommends focusing on only two values, as hard as that may be, to overcome any adversity thrown your way. Values are human ideals like courage, kindness, family, honesty, etc. that we consider most important in our lives. Each one of us has our own set of values that guide our lives and sometimes it’s a long list. Brene stresses that we should prioritize two values over all others to be resilient during difficult times. If you convince yourself that all of them matter, you’ll end up prioritizing none of them.

Lastly, Brene and her team have compiled a list of seven behaviors that help us build more trust in our relationships with others. They say to create trust in your relationships, you should remember the acronym BRAVING, which breaks down like this:


  • Boundary-setting: Clarifying and respecting other’s limits is crucial to a collaborative relationship.

  • Reliability: If we can’t rely on one another to keep our word, what good is it?

  • Accountability: Making mistakes is normal. Sweeping them under the rug isn’t.

  • Vault-closing: Trust is a safeguard for information. If you don’t break my confidentiality, I won’t break yours.

  • Integrity: Whatever your two core values are, never compromise them.

  • Non-judgement: When you replace judgment with curiosity, you turn isolation into connection.

  • Generosity: Leave lots of room in your interpretations and expectations. This way, others will always turn to you.

After learning each of these concepts and more in the book, AWARE’s leadership team has taken its collaboration and coordination of service lines to the next level. They are focused on creating a culture that embraces being vulnerable, remains resilient in the toughest of times and fosters trusting relationships with anyone who is willing.


If you haven’t yet read this book, we’d certainly encourage you to add it to your list. Brene Brown doesn’t disappoint readers with thought-provoking ideas that will broaden your perspectives. She has many other books that we hope to also read at some point in the future.

Have you read any great leadership books? We’d love to know what you’re reading! Let us know by sending an email to bhiggins@aware-inc.org.

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