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Book Review: Dare To Lead by Brené Brown

By Amazon, Books & Authors, ReviewsNo Comments

I first discovered Brené Brown when I saw this TED talk titled The Power of Vulnerability:

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Which Brown followed up with this TED Talk, Listening to Shame:

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dare-to-lead-brene-brown-book-cover So when I started on a leadership course at work, I decided to buy Dare To Lead by Brené Brown.

Dare To Lead is about leadership that is vulnerable, values-based, trusting and resilient. The book is split into four parts.

The first and biggest part is Rumbling with Vulnerability. In this section Brown discusses what vulnerability is, why it is important, myths about vulnerability, using courage to drop our armor as leaders, dealing with shame and empathy and curiosity grounded in confidence.

The second part is Living Into Our Values. Values are very important to me, so unsurprisingly this was my favorite part of the book. This section covers what our own values are, what organisational values can be and how to turn values into measurable

behaviours. The List of Values activity I completed with some of my colleagues at work and I found it an incredibly useful in terms of learning more about them and what they value. Since I have also contributed to a consultation at work around our organisational values.

The third part of the book is Braving Trust. This section of the book is all about building trust as a leader and recognising how trust is built up gradually over time and can be easily lost.

The fourth part of the book is Learning to Rise which is all about resilience. This part of the book is about recognising emotion within ourselves and others as a leader, being curious about emotions and being self-aware enough to recognise what is going on emotionally for ourselves and others.

Throughout Dare To Lead are many helpful strategies that if implemented would make you a better leader. Including strategies around: having difficult conversations, increasing self-awareness, being aware of the values of ourselves and of the people we lead, being aware of the stories we tell ourselves (that may or may not be true), how to build trust and courage in the people that you lead.

Dare To Lead is written in a way that feels like you’re having a conversation with Brown. She gives examples from her own experience and also asks open questions styled in a coaching method to encourage the reader to think about how these experiences relate to their own life.

About Brené Brown
Brené Brown is a Research Professor at the University of Huston, is a Social Worker and delivers talks and training on leadership around innovation, creativity and change. Brown has worked with Pixar (Disney) and Facebook around leadership. You can learn more about Brené Brown on her website here.

Dare To Lead by Brené Brown is available to buy on Amazon.

Review soon,


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Book Review: Wilful Blindness by Margaret Heffernan

By Amazon, Books & Authors, ReviewsNo Comments
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Wilful Blindness is when a person or people chose to deliberately pretend not to know about or ignore ethically dubious acts.

It happens on both a micro and macro scale. It spans all parts of society. It can have devastating consequences to both individuals and communities.

Wilful Blindness was originally a legal term, but once Heffernan heard the term she started seeing Wilful Blindness everywhere.

In our collective history of the past and in how governments and businesses operate today.

Heffernan started talking to people, lots of people, from different professional backgrounds and they all knew what she was talking about.

They were all able to give examples of Wilful Blindness in their lives.

In Wilful Blindness, Heffernan identifies the causes and gives examples of the negative consequences of Wilful Blindness. She explains how to expand your mind to be less susceptible to the epidemic of Wilful Blindness.

Heffernan uses psychology to explain human behaviour when it comes to Wilful Blindness and suggests that:

  • We like people that are the same or similar to ourselves. This can lead to blindness to difference and diversity and the benefits of the challenges that they bring.
  • Love of people, ideas, money, things, values, can make us blind.
  • Holding on to deeply held beliefs can mean we miss or ignore evidence that is contrary to these deeply held beliefs.
  • Everyone’s mind has limits and these limits are stretched to make some very complex organisations, which make it difficult to see the truth or know what’s going on.
  • We bury our head in the sand. We hope that difficult issues will go away. We even delude ourselves by not looking, acknowledging or talking about issues.
  • We blame external sources for ethically difficult decisions and justify it to ourselves and other by stating: I was just doing my job.
  • Cultures, conformity and the craving for acceptance from our peers can make us blind to other, broader or different perspectives.
  • People that see what others are blind to and do nothing reinforce the status quo. Not only that, but they also imply through omissions that everything that makes up the status quo is acceptable.
  • Physical distance from a situation or problem can lead to cognitive dissonance and make someone blind.
  • Money and the removal of ethics from work makes people obey and conform. They are much less likely to notice issues or be brave enough to make a stand.
  • People who challenge Wilful Blindess have a tough time. But common qualities in these people include: a sense of social justice, they are generally nonconformists, they are often trendsetters, they feel compelled to raise an uncomfortable truth, they have determination, a high level of resilience, they obsess about the truth and the truth others are ignoring, they have an eye for detail and are willing to suffer both personally and professionally to get others to see the truth.

Throughout Wilful Blindness Heffernan presents a compelling argument and engaging narrative, which is enhanced with fully referenced examples. Examples include: child abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, problems in BP, the banking crash caused by subprime mortgages and derivatives (2007-2010), the Nazis in World War 2 and post operative child deaths in Bristol.

Overall the book is a fascinating exploration of human psychology and why we often fail to see the obvious. If you’re interested in psychology, self-awareness, leadership or business you should read this book.

Review soon,



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Mind Map: What Makes A Good Nurse?

By Health, Life, ThinkingNo Comments

In my day job, I’m a Nurse. I had an experience recently that made me ask the question: What makes a Good Nurse?

I started with a mind map of my ideas (click on the Image for Full Size Image):


Mind Map: What Makes A Good Nurse? (Click for Full Size Image)

Despite the size of the mind map, there were loads of other qualities, talents and skills that I simply couldn’t fit on the mind map. These include:

  • A Sense of Humour
  • Patience
  • A Holistic Approach to care.
  • An understanding of and interest in Biology (Anatomy & Physiology), Sociology & Psychology.
  • Basic Life Support – Skills in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).
  • An understanding of public health and health promotion.
  • An understanding of key issues: addiction, smoking cessation, mental health and obesity.
  • Knowledge of both hospital and community services including: what services offer, how they operate and how patient’s can access them.
  • Works Well in a Team.
  • Has Leadership Skills.
  • Aware of legislation relevant to patient care, safeguarding and other legislation related to their field of practice.
  • Has three goals: to prevent patients from getting sick/unwell, to make sick patients well again, and to keep patients as well & healthy as possible.

A Good Nurse needs to have so many qualities, talents and skills. No one person will have everyone of the qualities, talents and skills listed here. But I’ve worked with some fabulous Nurses that have come pretty close.

Nurses work in teams, which is where skill mix comes into play. Having a team of Nurses with a good mix of qualities, talents and skills means excellent patient care. This is because most, if not all of these qualities, talents and skills are met by the Nursing team as a whole.

Is there a quality, talent or skill you think a Good Nurse needs to have that isn’t on the mind map or list above? If so, please leave a comment below.

Write soon,



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University Break & Leadership Module Results

By Education3 Comments

Well the results are in from my latest module on Leadership and I got: 63%.
(See Promoting and Influencing Health Module Results & ———–Transcript————– for other module results.)

I am going to continue on the Dissertation module I am currently on, the assignment due the beginning of April. However I am taking a break from the Children’s Module I was undertaking alongside this due to recent events (see My Darling Baby Brother).

Write soon,


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