Finding strength in your leadership through vulnerability
In leadership, vulnerability has emerged as a powerful catalyst for growth and connection. However, many find themselves grappling with the question of how to strike the right balance between vulnerability and oversharing. What does it truly mean to be vulnerable as a leader? In this article, we explore the transformative power of vulnerability and how it can strengthen both our personal and professional lives.
Discovering the Power of Vulnerability:
For me, embracing vulnerability was a transformative journey—one that required a shift in my beliefs. I had to recognise that vulnerability was not a sign of weakness or inadequacy, but rather a source of strength that allowed me to build genuine connections with others and, most importantly, with my own self.
The Importance of Defining Vulnerability:
To begin on the path of vulnerability, it is crucial to first understand what it looks like in the workplace. Consider the below list and evaluate how they align with your current leadership style. Perhaps there is an area that could benefit from more attention. Personally, I realised that I needed to let go of the fear of intruding by asking about their well-being. Avoiding uncomfortable conversations only hindered genuine connection.
What vulnerability in the workplace looks like:
- Being open and honest with yourself and others about areas of development you need
- Being your true self with people
- Giving people the opportunity to get to know and understand you
- Asking your team for feedback on your strengths and weaknesses so that you can be a better as a leader
- Calling an employee or colleague whose child is not well, a loss in the family etc..
- Asking someone for help
- Taking responsibility for something that went wrong at work
Exploring the Boundaries of Vulnerability:
While embracing vulnerability is empowering, it is equally important to recognise its boundaries. Here are a few considerations to help navigate the fine line between vulnerability and oversharing:
- It’s not spilling all your dirty laundry to everyone
- Its knowing the appropriate person to tell
- Know the intention of why you are sharing
At our recent Courageous Leaders LIVE event, Lori Meakin led an inspiring exercise where participants paired up and shared something significant about themselves. The room immediately shifted, and a newfound sense of relaxation and closeness enveloped the atmosphere. One leader, for instance, shared his experience of losing his mother, a deeply personal revelation he had never previously shared in the workplace. This vulnerable moment fostered a profound connection between him and the person he confided in.
The feedback from the room confirmed a powerful truth: as leaders, we establish the level of vulnerability that our teams can comfortably embrace based on our own openness. The act of vulnerability not only strengthens relationships but also cultivates a sense of safety within the team.
Crucial Listening and Action:
The most important factor to remember is if you choose to ask someone if they are okay, it is essential to genuinely listen and potentially take action based on their response. Superficial enquiries or dismissive responses will only shut down vulnerability. To truly empower your team and help them reach their full potential, you must bring your whole self to the workplace, thereby encouraging and enabling them to do the same.
As leaders, we possess the extraordinary gift of inspiring others to unlock their full potential. To achieve this, we must be willing to embrace vulnerability, allowing it to guide our interactions and shape our leadership style. I invite you to reflect on your own experiences and share your thoughts on this article.
Connect with me on LinkedIn or drop me an email—I would love to hear from you.
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