Leadership is not easy. In fact, if you are doing it right, it is downright difficult. Learning to lead is an ongoing process that evolves with you. Many skills and talents are molded together to create the leader you are today. Your personality and the experience you have had either as a leader or with the leaders around you will definitely contribute to who you are as a leader. We are clearly influenced by leaders and their actions, whether directly or in the media – a great leveler when it comes to viewing leaders as they truly are.
Think about this though. Have you progressed in your leadership development so that you know it is okay to be vulnerable?
Vulnerable is defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as ‘being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally’. As leaders, we need to accept that we are human – being vulnerable is part of that.
Being vulnerable is not:
- A sign of weakness or indecision
- Becoming a doormat and allowing others to walk all over you
- Crying at the drop of a hat
- Taking unnecessary risks that could harm you or your organization
- Abdicating responsibility
Being vulnerable as a leader is:
- Letting others know you need help and asking for it
- Listening to feedback and incorporating it into your next steps or development plans
- Understanding that not everyone will ‘like’ you and dealing with the emotions that comes with that acknowledgement
- Being empathetic and compassionate with your team, your family, your clients and your vendors – consistently and authentically
- Allowing yourself opportunities to reflect and review your past performance and behaviour and seeking guidance for change
In quite the opposite direction, a leader needs to be confident to show their vulnerable side- this includes self-awareness that shows the leader can be multi-faceted and certainly focused at the same time. It may not be easy to reconcile this in your mind. As a human being, many emotions collide and keeping them bottled up really is not a good idea. Finding ways to express emotions like frustration, confusion, regret, happiness, joy and all the rest is an art developed by experience. Take some time to think about the many ways in which you interact with clients and colleagues.
Do you focus on building relationships instead of making transactions? This applies to both clients and team members. With clients, it is clear – get to know them and build the relationship so that they trust you. As soon as trust develops, the relationship is now a two-way street and no longer about a transaction but about making both parties better. The same applies to relationships with your team – it is not about strictly giving direction (the transaction – they do what we say). Now you are venturing into tapping into who does what best, or who needs to stretch and grow in new directions because you have gotten to know them and understand who they are and the direction in which they would like to move.
Are you interested in listening and truly understanding as opposed to glossing over objections to close the sale? If you truly listen, you are doing so with your whole body – and seeing as well as hearing what is being said. If you are only trying to close the sale and get the dollars, they most certainly will not stick in the future as there has not been a true effort to build trust. By taking time to listen, even though you may not get the sale today, you have been open and vulnerable to rejection and allow the other party to learn more about you.
As a leader, you are charged with guiding others to move forward through your example. Lora Crestan Tweet this!
This could be an individual or an entire company. How you act will define how others act. How you develop relationships will be reflected in how your team learns to, and then builds relationships. Your ability and courage to show vulnerability will provide a more open environment in your organization, allowing for change, personal growth and stronger bonds to develop.
How you act will define how others act”.
Are you a Vulnerable Leader? Describe to us how you became one.