Vulnerability in Leadership: Why It's Important
The first thing you learn when learning to skydive is how to survive a hard landing. Similarly, before plunging into vulnerability, arm yourself with the skills and systems to recover from setbacks. Organizations require brave leaders and courageous cultures to succeed in a complex and fluid world.
When we step outside of our comfort zone or take a step that requires us to let go of control, we experience vulnerability, which Brené Brown defines as "uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure."
Being the first to respond or come up with an idea is not necessary for a leader who displays vulnerability. Changing your perspective to be able to see through the eyes of the people you lead is an essential part of being vulnerable as a leader. They will allow unity to lead the conversation when a person does this. People end up becoming more invested and engaged as a result of being vulnerable leaders.
Build a better performance with vulnerability from the book Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
How can I become a better leader? is a common question that people ask themselves all over the world. Managers, CEOs, and executives face these challenges every day in identifying what they need to do to increase their effectiveness. Sadly, they often focus on the wrong things, such as labels, status, and power.
Worry not where there's a way to improve leadership skills through Dare to Lead by Brené Brown. The book is written in a casual, conversational style, with many personal anecdotes and stories to provide insight into Brown's thoughts and feelings about shame, fear, and vulnerability. Practice is the best way to learn about vulnerability.
Her writing explains that while we all experience difficulties, talking about them is not a sign of weakness. It's an effective method of establishing trust. The performance also heavily depends on vulnerability. You're only going to be able to perform to a certain level if you lack the necessary talent or aren't making the required effort. But once you've reached that level, it's the vulnerability that pushes you forward.
"I’ve met incredible leaders all over the world – from high school students to community activists and warehouse managers. The biggest mistake we make is believing that leadership only happens in the C-suite."
In addition to leaning into vulnerability, having empathy, and building connections, courageous leaders don't shy away from challenging conversations and situations. How then can you raise leaders who are braver and more daring? How can you cultivate a culture that values courage? Fortunately, there are a few available skill sets that we've schemed through the book that makes up daring leadership.
Have those tough conversations with employees
Nobody actually likes conflict, let's face it. However, if you notice a problem at work, you as the leader should strike up a real conversation and move things forward.
Agile leaders worry that the conversation will go poorly and that employees will become upset. They are reluctant to have tough conversations with their employees because they are unsure of how to approach them. That is a valid concern, but they seem to have overlooked the fact that vulnerability is the best way to build a deeper relationship and thus access the greatest strength.
Yes, some workers don't want to be reminded of their shortcomings or errors. They don't want the impression that something is wrong with them. But as strong leaders, you must take into account the fact that employees frequently are unaware of how their actions impact those around them or the environment as a whole. They might value your thoughtfulness. The prevalence of difficult conversations is not about mistakes, which are sometimes easier conversations.
Find the right setting
Leaders should give the employee a chance to respond after they've explained the purpose of the meeting and laid out their case. This gives you knowledge of the problem's root cause. To make difficult conversations more effortless, it is crucial to building trust with your employees before you have a conversation with them.
Make the environment safe for the employee to speak openly when engaging in conversation. Instead of assuming information that you are unaware of, this opportunistic infection is in your understanding of the employee's situation. Be receptive to their viewpoint, attentive to what they are saying, and ask them to explain any points you are unclear on.
Notify the employee that it is your responsibility to assist them in succeeding. Your employees need to know what to expect from you and set reasonable, clear expectations for them. As you decide how you'll keep track of progress, assist the employee in identifying specific next steps.
It's never too late to improve as a leader, you can improve by using these suggestions by us, regardless of where you are in your leadership journey. Based on our understanding, we created this worksheet focusing on vulnerability assessment for leaders from the book. Click here to download:
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It is important to distinguish between vulnerability and weakness or submission. It requires courage and strength. Here at Petadiri leadership, we believe that vulnerability is important. For assistance with leadership concerns, we have coaches and assessments. Our coaching and mentoring program focuses on improving staff coaching to boost output. We at Petadiri would be delighted to work with you and your staff members to improve your leadership skills.
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