Association leaders can learn several valuable lessons from Brené Brown about leadership. Brené Brown is a renowned American scholar, author, and public speaker, best known for her work on vulnerability, courage, shame, and empathy. She holds a Ph.D. in social work and has spent much of her career researching topics related to human connection, vulnerability, courage, and shame.


Brené Brown defines a leader as,’ anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes and has the courage to develop that potential.’ As an association leader, you oversee many tasks and processes that are essential to the functioning of an association. There is opportunity in each task, in every client interaction, to choose to be courageous and lead. You are likely already doing so in many ways. In doing so, your association’s goals are being met more effectively and you are promoting well-being for yourself and within your association.


In Brené Brown’s book Dare to Lead, Brown introduces the concept of daring leadership, which involves taking bold and courageous actions to drive meaningful change. Leaders should be willing to step outside of their comfort zones, confront difficult conversations, and lead with conviction. By embracing daring leadership, leaders can inspire others and create a positive impact within their organizations. This is regardless of one’s position. Everyone can be a leader.


Let’s get more specific. Have you ever thought you had to look strong at a Board meeting when you really didn’t feel it? Maybe you chose not to own up to a mistake you made in an email campaign for fear of admitting to failure. Maybe you have been hoarding responsibilities and tasks because asking for help would be seen as weak. Often, we later find out it’s the exact opposite behaviour that yields the best result. In Dare To Lead, Brené Brown’s goal is to help us step into leadership and take charge not despite, but because of all the misguided notions.


A popular area to embrace daring leadership as an association leader is to ‘Delegate vs Dump’. Delegating and dumping are two different approaches to managing tasks and responsibilities.


  • Delegate: Delegation involves assigning tasks or responsibilities to others who are capable of completing them. It’s a strategic approach to distribute workload, leverage strengths, and foster collaboration within a team or organization. Delegation is about entrusting others with specific tasks while providing necessary support, guidance, and resources to ensure successful outcomes. Effective delegation can enhance productivity, promote skill development, and empower team members.


  • Dumping: Dumping, on the other hand, refers to the indiscriminate transfer of tasks or responsibilities without proper consideration or support. It often involves offloading unwanted or difficult tasks onto others without providing adequate instructions, resources, or assistance. Dumping can lead to frustration, resentment, and decreased morale among team members. It’s a counterproductive approach that undermines teamwork, erodes trust, and can ultimately hinder organizational performance.


As an association leader, leadership manifests in various ways to effectively manage an association and ensure its goals are met. To achieve workplace cohesion and success, leadership is paramount at every tier in an association hierarchy. I encourage you to continue to dare, to lead!


To learn more about this concept, for more tools, to purchase Brown’s book Dare to Lead or to inquire about how to integrate this topic within your association visit: Dare to Lead Hub – Brené Brown (