I’ve just finished Brene Brown’s newest book Dare to Lead. It’s the best leadership book I’ve read in a long time. To summarize, Brown calls us to lead with both courage and vulnerability while upholding our personal leadership values in order to foster trusting relationships.
The executives I coach recognize that leading with vulnerability would benefit both their direct teams and larger organizations. They understand that humans, as social creatures, want to feel connected to their leader on an emotional level. They understand that emotions are at the root of all decisions. Why then is it so challenging for some leaders to embody vulnerability?
This is what I hear:
“Being vulnerable will expose my weaknesses, and then people will see I don’t always know what I’m doing and they’ll lose confidence in my ability to lead”.– anonymous leader
Nope. It’s actually the opposite. If you were to say, “Admittedly, I don’t fully understand XYZ, can you please help me figure this out”?
“I’m feeling out of my depth on this decision and could really use your support”.
“I’m challenged at home right now and my focus is elsewhere which isn’t fair to you. I apologize. Can you please repeat your last comment”?
THOSE responses, which are both courageous and vulnerable, engender credibility and trust from your team. Choosing vulnerability takes courage. Therefore it’s not easy, not to mention totally uncomfortable. But ask yourself, what’s at risk if I don’t choose courage and vulnerability?
This week, I invite you to talk openly about your limitations and lean into courage and vulnerability.
I predict your people will respect and trust you much more. Ultimately, this increased trust will lead to enhanced engagement, higher functioning teams, and greater team performance. When put this way, isn’t being a little uncomfortable worthwhile?