Is vulnerability ok?

I am firm believer in authentic leadership. I don’t mean let it all hang out and share with your coworkers your deepest and darkest, that your wife is having an affair, or your daughter is flunking out her senior year… I mean you can, but I doubt that will get the results you want. But I do believe in being transparent with your team and colleagues about what you are working on to be the best leader and coworker you can be. Share what you are thinking. Say how you are feeling. Reveal what you are struggling with. And even how they can help you!

I think many leaders are afraid to “open the kimono”. They may feel it is a sign of weakness, which I would argue, sharing your fears demonstrates more strength. I also see this misnomer that our leaders must have the answers. My theory is leaders think that more than their teams… team members have more realistic expectations and appreciate humility. Leaders have created this mystique around being in their position, making that synonymous with omnipotent. They concern themselves with the sentiment that if they show weakness then the ivory tower is just another office and the emperor really does not have any clothes.

I can confidently say from personal experience that being my authentic self and transparent with my teammates about where I was in my journey (life or career) encouraged a trusting, hardworking, cohesive team that worked toward the vision we had collectively set forth. When we say we want everyone to lead from where they sit, that can be an immensely powerful message – if we mean it. It must also mean that leadership does not come with a certain title. It comes with an ability to bring people together. To listen and learn. To be humble and vulnerable. I believe that vulnerability is my superpower (thank you mommy for shining that light). Role modeling is a strong influencing behavior. When we demonstrate the behaviors we appreciate with others, it becomes contagious. And dare I say, easy. The muscle is flexed, and you like how it feels.

Finding your authentic voice and being vulnerable in your journey can be harsh on the ego. I am finding that as I go through learning about what I don’t know, and my areas of improvement in the work I have set out in front of me, being a better coach and facilitator, is hard on my ego. I am driven person I want to be good at things – immediately – but unfortunately that isn’t what growth is about. I remind myself that I didn’t know how to be a manager and yet I masterfully grew in that role and ended up with a wonderfully supportive accomplished team. What I can continue to rely on is that people do want you to succeed, especially when you show up in a way that resonates with them. Being vulnerable is one of those ways. Everyone has a vulnerability somewhere in their life. Don’t be afraid to tap into it.

“Vulnerability is not weakness; It’s our greatest measure of courage.” – Brene Brown

Published by rachaelsarahgass

Working mom, wife, friend, sister, organizational psychologist, learner, coach. Kindness Counts. People First. Integrity Always.

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