Brené Brown leadership quotes: THNK’s top picks

Brené Brown leadership quotes: THNK’s top picks

Brené Brown is an American professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host. She became prominent when her TEDx Talk on the power of vulnerability went viral in 2010. Today, Brené’s groundbreaking research on vulnerability, courage, shame, and empathy, shines a light on the challenges leaders face today and how they can look inwards to grow.

Of course, with great ideas (and research) come great leadership quotes. We reached out to the THNK Community to get their favorite Brené Brown quotes on leadership. Get ready to get inspired!

Brené Brown on Daring Leadership

In her renowned research on daring leadership, courage, and vulnerability, Brené Brown outlines 10 barriers to courage in organizations:

  1. Avoiding tough conversations
  2. Not tending to fears and feelings
  3. Corroding trust
  4. Stuck in setbacks
  5. Lack of innovation
  6. Rush to problem-solving (action bias)
  7. Ignoring inclusion, diversity, and equity
  8. Using shame and blame
  9. Gauzy values
  10. Perfectionism

Do you recognize this in your own organization – maybe even in your own leadership?

If you want to gain confidence as a leader to overcome your barriers to courage and unlock your team’s potential, join the next class of the THNK EMERGE program.

THNK’s Top Quotes on Leadership From Brené Brown

  1. “Integrity is choosing courage over comfort: It’s choosing what’s right over what’s fun, fast, or easy, and it’s practicing your values, not just professing them.”

“All too often, I see people choosing the easy path and then wondering why things are not working out, why others are not working along, and complaining about that. Sometimes you have to make tough decisions to ease the path forward.” – Top pick by: THNKer Simone van Neerven

  1. “Nothing has transformed my life more than realizing that it’s a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of the people in the stands.”

“This relates back to the core of why I joined the THNK EMERGE program: always feeling like I had to prove myself, as I am young and haven’t racked up 10 years of experience yet. However, it is not about that and other people’s perspectives. It’s about what you have learned and experienced and realizing you are worthy and able. It is about you.” – Top pick by: THNKer Daniel van Vliet


  1. “Empathy has no script. There is no right way or wrong way to do it. It’s simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of ‘you’re not alone.’”

“We feel that we help by having answers – advice, do’s and don’ts, knowledge. However, by admitting that we don’t know – that we don’t even know what to say – is a counterintuitive way to approach a situation that generates connection and brings us together. It’s something simple and powerful that I try to practice every day in my personal life, and not only teach other people about it.” – Top pick by THNK Faculty Henrique Vedana

  1. “Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.”

“Embracing your inner light and shadow is super powerful and needed for true leadership.” – Top pick by: THNK Program Manager Clara Bianchini

  1. “Empathy is connecting to the emotions that underpin an experience.”

“I believe in this. I preach this. I live by this. Fun fact: I have a tattoo that says EXPERIENCES. My life is driven by my experiences and it has made me empathetic. When you are empathetic, you are stronger.” – Top pick by: THNKer Khushboo Chawla

  1. “Courage is contagious.”

“It sure is. Every time I find courage, I have this experience. Really encouraging.” – Top pick by: THNK Faculty Ien van Duijnhoven

  1. “No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.”

“This one resonates so deeply with me! When I was young, I learned to equate my worth with my performance and I struggle when I feel myself giving less than 100%. It has taken a few years to realize that sometimes my 60% is more than enough, and at the end of the day, anything that I give is of value.” – Top pick by: THNKer Alexaundra Zanella

  1. “The most powerful teaching moments are those where you screw up.”

“I was first introduced to Brené Brown through her book, ‘The Gifts of Imperfection,’ which was an eye-opening read for me. As a perfectionist, the idea that mistakes can be valuable and that you can learn and grow from them has been really important for my own personal development as well as my approach to leadership.” – Top pick by: THNK Program Director Jessica Krueger

  1. “Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.”

“Although I love all of Brené Brown’s quotes on leadership, I feel this one is closest to my lived experience.” – Top pick by: THNK Faculty Grant Davidson


At THNK, all of our leadership programs focus on crucial leadership topics like vulnerability, empathy, and courage – inspired by research and ideas from leaders like Brené Brown.

To read more Brené Brown leadership quotes, we highly recommend “Dare to Lead,” Brene Brown leadership book, and how to build courageous cultures.

Learn Leadership Skills with THNK

THNK is a purpose-driven social enterprise, creating experiential and transformative leadership programs to develop creative leaders capable of delivering innovative solutions to the world’s greatest challenges.

We have leadership programs for three career levels.