Vulnerability in leadership is movement in today’s world. This ability to feel deeply, share our experience, claim our own responsibility with our emotions and find a different path forward, are the practices which are emerging in our workplace and our lives.
I can recall a time where I was taught to be different at work and in private life. I found that difficult, because I am the same person in both those arenas. For sure I don’t swear in work life and I do dabble in it in my private life if I stub my toe, etc. Yet in the broader view, I am one person and if I don’t bring all of myself to my work, my clients get only half of me. So, this ability to be fully human in all areas becomes the practice.
This has not always been easy, and it has been my greatest growth and success. I see this not only for myself, but have experienced it over and over while coaching and training thousands of leaders – the minute the leader fully owns their humanity and truth, they experience uncommon success.
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.”
– Brene Brown
In leadership, often the most vulnerable place is hearing feedback. As leaders, we cannot always see our impact on others. While our intentions may be good, the impact can sometimes not be what we would hope. The leaders who understand that there can be regular misinterpretation of their words and intent, have the courage to seek honest and critical feedback. Feedback can and does create this place of vulnerability and yet, when we are open to it, we grow exponentially.
If you are willing to be vulnerable and grow beyond your current definitions of self and leadership, here are a few techniques to begin the journey:
- Be aware you have blind spots.
- Know that your blind spots hold the key to your success.
- Ask for feedback in this simple way – What am I doing that works and what can I add or change to make it even better?
- When someone gives you feedback, takes notes, say thank you, do not defend or justify.
- If you are not clear what they mean, ask them if they are open to questions.
These are a few practices that will start you on the path to growing as you learn to manage and lead through change and new challenges.
I am sure many of you are astute enough to see there could be other variations. If you would like to explore more of how to gain feedback and insight, take advantage of our leadership platform to expand your skills in this arena.
Brene Brown is the most recent researcher and speaker on this topic in our era. If you would like to learn more, this book will be a great place to start.