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The library of essays of Proakatemia

Dare greatly, instead of armoring yourself

Kirjoittanut: Seungyeon Shin - tiimistä SYNTRE.

Esseen tyyppi: Yksilöessee / 2 esseepistettä.

Dare to lead: brave work, tough conversations, whole hearts
Brené Brown
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 4 minuuttia.

As it is almost the end of the semester, I wanted to pause here and reflect on what have I been learning and realizing on a personal level as well as on a team level. It has been about one and a half years since our team SYNTRE members met. Where are we “SYNTRE” as a team?

I believe the forming stage, from Tuckman’s team model, where all team members are getting to know each other and their strengths and weaknesses, trying to make good impressions on each other, has passed. And I assume that we might be at the storming stage which is often described as the stage where a team is experiencing conflict that occurred from miscommunication, misaligned expectations, unclear boundaries, and many other reasons. (Tuckman 1965) How can we step up to the next stage? What do we need to consider to move forward from the storming stage?

There were moments I felt disappointed and frustrated with some of our team members during the teamwork. And of course, there was a conflict. I tried to exchange feedback, and I tried hard to understand others’ situations and feelings. But in the end, I could sense that I was building armor around me to protect myself from criticism and negativity. It made me think daring leadership can be a way to bring our team SYNTRE to the next stage. This essay aims for learning how to act and lead dare greatly instead of armoring up.


In the Netflix documentary, Brené Brown: The call to courage, she starts the speech by sharing her experience of the Ted talk speech. As some of you might know, she is an American researcher widely known for her research on shame, vulnerability, and leadership. After she gave a Ted speech about the power of vulnerability, she shared her “vulnerability hangover” and said her life changed after hearing the speech from Theodore Roosevelt in 1910.

“It is not the critics who counts. It is not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done it different. The credit belongs to the person who’s actually in the arena, whose face is marred with dust and sweat and blood, who comes up short again and again, and who in the end while he may know the triumph of high achievement, at least when he fails, he does do daring greatly”

If you choose to be in the arena and if you choose to be brave with your life, you are going to get your ass kicked, and you are going to fail. There will be criticism from here and there. But if that criticism comes from cheap seats, from those who can’t get down into the arena, it is not worth ruminating about them. (Brown 2018, 20) Feedback is important. But the comments and critics from the cheap seats, there is no need to stomp it, kick it away or even pull hatred. Just step up and move forward. (Brown 2018, 20-21)


Dare to lead goes deeper into what is armored leadership and what is daring leadership. Firstly, in terms of criticism, if it is used as self-protection if the criticism is coming from the fear and feeling of unworthiness, it might be an invisible armor reaction. Speaking up about concerns and owning up to them is brave, but if you pretend to represent a lot of people by using the subject “we”, that is cheap-seat behavior. There must be some contribution from a critic. In other words, there should be a point of view offered if there is criticism. More directly, if you want to criticize, give a contribution first, and put yourself in the arena prepared to be covered with dirt and blood. That is what daring leadership is. Secondly, cynicism and sarcasm are working together as friends in the cheap seats, and they are cheap and easy. Passive-aggressiveness and hurtful comments lead to cynicism and they are worse in the text- context. Especially in a multicultural environment, they become toxic. Instead of being sarcastic and cynical, stay clear and kind. Practice speaking up about what you mean and mean what you say. If you want to be a daring leader, reward clarity and kindness, and genuine communication. Thirdly, being a knower is defensiveness and it is heavy armor. An illusional thought that you have to be always right and know everything is a big source of bullshit. They will eventually bring distrust, bad decisions, and unnecessary conflicts. To do dare greatly and become a learner, Brown recommends naming the issue to the knower, making learning curiosity skills a priority, and acknowledging and rewarding great questions. (Brown 2018, 92-95)


What could be a practical tool for daring leadership when it comes to proceeding with teamwork? The TASC approach: the Accountability and Success checklist can be useful.

  1. T– Who owns the task?
  2. A– Do they have the authority to be held accountable?
  3. S– Do we agree that they are set up for success (clarity, time, and resources)
  4. C– Do we have a checklist of what needs to happen to accomplish the task?

The point of this tool is to require and encourage people to police themselves and deliver more than what they are expected. It is easy to just make a task completion list and delegate the tasks, claiming exactly what we want and how we want it, but it leads to ineffectiveness and less creativity. More importantly, the armor of compliance and control leads people to want to leave and question their abilities. (Brown 2018, 99-104)


The mindtool contents team suggests several things for a team to shift from a storming stage to a norming stage. With the armored criticism, cynicism, sarcasm, and being a knower environment, the storming can break the team. Hence, it is essential to solving conflicts. But if it is a small discord, it can be a positive impact that leads the team to exchange feedback, fix the issues, and create innovations together. (Mind tools contents team 2022)


In conclusion, I learned a lot from the book dare to lead how to unarmoring myself. By comparing armored leadership and daring leadership, I could reflect on my own behaviors in teamwork, and realized still there are many things that I should work on to dare greatly. And daring leadership will be a good way to take SYNTRE from the storming stage to the performing stage.


Reference list:

-Brené Brown. 2018. Dare to lead: brave work, tough conversations, whole hearts. New York: Random House

-Bruce W Tuckman. 1965. Developmental Sequence in Small Groups Psychological Bulletin. 63(6)

-Mind tools contents team. 2022. Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. Read on 2.12.2022


Soonie from Entre.

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