The Power of Being a Vulnerable Leader

- Worker Happiness

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by Sam at Management 3.0

Vulnerability is the new or not so new buzzword, that’s making everyone wear their emotions on their sleeves and not be afraid to let their pride down. But why is it so important for leaders to be vulnerable?

First, let’s define what vulnerability is:

The state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally

Why is it important for leaders to be vulnerable?

As vulnerability guru, Brene Brown says, people connect more with those who have weaknesses. “Every superhero has a weaknesses (Superman has kryptonite, for example). What makes these people more relatable? If they were perfect, would we care as much about them?” she says.

When we’re vulnerable we’re human, we’re imperfect and we allow people to see us and feel needed by us.

But it’s not that easy, as Brown also acknowledges:

The difficult thing is that vulnerability is the first thing I look for in you and the last thing I’m willing to show you. In you, it’s courage and daring. In me, it’s weakness.

Brene Brown

So how does vulnerability help leaders?

#1: It makes you relatable as a leader: For someone to be a true leader, people need to feel emotionally connected, says Jyoti Khan. The more leaders can be authentic, real and genuine with those they work with, the easier it is for people to connect.

#2: Creates stronger teams: When you don’t have all the answers you’re forced to rely on others and ask for help. Doing this creates bonds within teams because it forces people to work together.

#3: Helps you become a modern leader: Gone are the days of stiff upper lip managers who have no emotion and can’t relate to those they work with. By showing vulnerability you’re not only letting others in, but you’re showing them that you realize the importance of it.

#4: Fosters trust: People trust those they connect with and who seem like them. Sharing concerns, worries, challenges and lessons learned from failed experiments ensures that people see you’re not perfect. That humanity fosters trust and instills confidence in those you work with.

How to show more vulnerability as a leader?

Become familiar with the feeling of being vulnerable: If you don’t know what it feels like to be vulnerable it will be hard to do. Practice expressing emotions that might not feel natural to you and then recognize the feeling of what it’s like when you do that. The more you do that the easier it will become.

Trust you can deal with the outcome: While it might seem daunting to let others know what you don’t feel 100% sure about, it’s important to reassure yourself that whatever the outcome of showing vulnerability, you can deal with it. Believe in your own strengths and trust the process and the rewards that vulnerability brings.

Don’t resist: Much of the time we naturally want to show vulnerability, but we hold ourselves back. Don’t resist the temptation to be vulnerable, let yourself go with it, it’ll be more beneficial in the long run.

Photo credit Erika Fletcher via Unsplash

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