When you hear the word “leadership”, what comes to your mind? A person f irme and rigid, closed position and, in general, far or someone who is part of the team, supports and shares its challenges and weaknesses?
Gone are the days when being vulnerable was synonymous with fragility. And when it comes to the leadership of the future, it’s impossible not to talk about vulnerability.
In this moment of so many uncertainties and transformations, vulnerability becomes a fundamental competence for leaders. The same goes for the opposite, the leader who has an excess of self-confidence, does not tolerate mistakes, and avoids any possibility of creating emotional connections with his followers no longer has space in the job market.
For those who still did not understand the importance of being vulnerable in companies, the new coronavirus pandemic certainly brought new thoughts on the subject . At a time of countless uncertainties, crises and unforeseen events, there is no one who has not gone through doubts, fears or insecurities in recent months.
New business and work models were rapidly introduced, unexpected challenges arose in organizations and, in order to face situations like these, it was necessary to break down internal barriers and deal with limiting beliefs .
In moments of crisis, everyone turns to the leader waiting for the next step.
When there aren’t many sureties, just unanswered questions, the team doesn’t need a hero leader saying he knows how to solve the problem (after all, the whole world didn’t have the answers). The real need at times like this is for a leader who is in the same boat, listens to the difficulties, and understands the conditions.
Leadership is much more than strategy and results. It is about the purpose, to ensure that the team is motivated to achieve personal and collective goals and, if not, it is the leader’s role to put people first and always act with empathy.
In this article, you will understand the role of vulnerability for leaders and how it can be a transformative element for teams and teams.
The importance of creating true connections
The human being needs emotional connections. Brené Brown, researcher, and specialist in themes such as courage, vulnerability, and empathy, spoke about the subject in her Ted Talk “The Power of Vulnerability” :
“Connection is why we’re here, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. It’s the reason for everything.”
Connecting emotionally with other people is part of being human. Getting to know other individuals, socializing, creating emotional bonds, all of this is essential for life. And if you think about it, your most important relationships are the ones where there was a deeper exchange, where you allowed yourself to build stronger connections.
Relationships start with family, then with friends, and extend to co-workers and company leaders. And to create and strengthen those connections, you have to be vulnerable.
A leader who assumes that he does not have all the answers, who learn from mistakes instead of condemning them, and who acts with active listening, inspires inspiration and motivation in his company’s employees. Vulnerability makes you appear human, awakening feelings such as empathy and compassion and allowing people around you to connect with you.
Leading a team based on how much you know can work for a while, but to exercise effective and positive leadership over the long term, your team needs to know how much you genuinely care.
3 tips to exercise vulnerability in leadership
1) Recognize your emotions and practice self-knowledge
To be vulnerable is to allow yourself to feel and be seen through that feeling, so it is necessary to have the emotional intelligence to take control of emotions. It’s a process that starts with you.
Look within, recognize your positive and negative emotional triggers, connect with yourself before connecting with others. Discover your own fears and insecurities, question where they come from, observe their learning and achievements, seeks to recognize their points of improvement.
To be vulnerable, you have to create emotional connections and they only happen when you learn to manage your emotions.
2) Ask for help without fear
Nobody gets anywhere alone. You have a story, a path you walked to get where you are today. What were the challenges of this trajectory? What did you learn from the mistakes you made? And who were the people who were by your side helping you in this process?
When you are led by someone, you will certainly seek help from your leader when you need it. However, there is a belief that when you assume a leadership role, you need to have all the answers to guide your team.
This assumption causes insecurity, frustration, and stagnation, when in fact it could promote collaboration and growth. The key turning point between these two realities is precisely vulnerability.
Have the courage to be vulnerable and ask others for help. In the end, the answer can be found together, allowing you to develop and strengthen your relationship with other team members.
3) Don’t run away from conflicts, make them constructive
If you’re in a room full of people and they all agree on everything, something is wrong. Among the possible problems, one of them may be the fear of disagreeing.
And not just the fear of disagreeing with what is being discussed in a meeting, for example, but disagreeing with other teammates or the leader himself. It’s the fear of conflict in general. However, opening up to conflict is also a way of being vulnerable.
Therefore, at these times, it is essential to encourage constructive conversations, demonstrate that the environment allows for different and dissenting opinions, as long as they promote collaboration. This is a way of teaching the team not to fear confrontation, but to grow from it.
Leadership is only truly effective when the focus is on people. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, build relationships and create genuine connections with your followers. You will see that with this change in attitude, the team’s motivation and results will be positively impacted.
And, to inspire you in this challenge of being and showing yourself more vulnerable, our nomination is Brené Brown’s classic Ted Talk about “The Power of Vulnerability”: