ACLGIM Leadership Forum

View from the Hess Institute

Courageous Leadership and the Dare to Lead™ Program

Dr. McDonald ( is a clinical psychologist and Dr. Graham ( is an organizational psychologist. Together, they help professionals flourish at work and in life by applying solid psychological principles—tested through research and grounded in practice—to individual, group, and organizational issues. Their consulting company, McDonald Graham, LLC, is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama.

Editors’ note: The following is a synopsis of a workshop planned for the 2020 Hess Institute. We believe the content remains timely.

Leaders today are called to manage uncertainty and complexity, navigate the unrelenting pace of change, meet an insatiable need for innovation, stay grounded with constantly shifting goals and expectations, and lead people through discomfort. What is needed now is courageous leadership—leaders who are willing to make tough decisions and have difficult conversations. This is especially true in the medical profession where many leaders find themselves in the midst of managing multiple high priority demands and collaborating across departments, institutions, and cultures.

The Dare to Lead™ program, an empirically based program developed by Dr. Brené Brown (University of Houston) identifies skillsets absent from most leaders’ development experiences. These four skillsets of courage are teachable, measurable, and observable:

  1. Rumbling with Vulnerability
  2. Living into our Values
  3. BRAVING Trust, and
  4. Learning to Rise.

Although we were unable to present this workshop, we encourage leaders to explore Dr. Brown’s work and unpack the barriers to courageous leadership. Consider how these barriers—such as a lack of self-awareness and self-management skills—may present in your own professional and personal lives. These skills are foundational to effective leadership and complement many other types of leadership development. We look forward to working with you on these skills in the future.

For more information:

McDonald Graham:
Dare to


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