Vulnerability is a hot topic these days. And well it should be. I’ve been speaking to the power of vulnerability with my clients for a long time. It is an absolute foundational core to building any trusting relationship, whether that be in business or in our personal lives.
I’m a strong advocate of creating environments where people feel safe to tell their stories. It is through the sharing of the nuances of our lives that we connect, bond and relate to others. Telling your story, and telling it true, requires a great degree of vulnerability.
Vulnerability is the other half of truth. All too often the unspoken half that waits in the wings yearning for it’s moment in the light. Without the opportunity to honestly express where and how we feel vulnerable, we’re only having half the conversation, which never really gets to the heart of the matter.
Recently Brené Brown showed up on Ted Talks with a brilliant talk about how vulnerability is a keystone to developing deeper connections with others. I was so glad to see the topic get such resounding support as people clearly resonated with the truth of her message.
Yes! We’re coming to understand the power of being more vulnerable. Fantastic.
Now, I want to speak about something that can often be even more difficult to pull off…..
Beyond being vulnerable ourselves and accepting others when they’re vulnerable. What’s really important is….
Inviting Vulnerability From Others.
Here’s what got me thinking about that and why it’s important.
As a leader, one of your key roles is to help transform confusing complexity into elegant and powerful simplicity.
Arguably the most complex component of a leader’s world is the diverse mix of people they lead.
Organizational cultures can be a minefield of complex and intricate relationships. You already know how even a small handful of intimate relationships at home can be challenging to manage. At work, the complexity of relationship dynamics multiplies exponentially. Add to that the pressures of stress, speed, ego, career advancement, the ever shifting landscape of office politics, perceived status, financial security and working with people who you didn’t necessarily choose to have in your life – and you’ve got a pretty complex situation to manage.
As a leader, you need to do everything you can to add clarity, inspiration, encouragement and well defined purpose to this wildly flavored soup of relationships and often conflicting goals.
Rewards – Seeking the simple solution first
So, yes, people are complicated. But we are also quite simple in that we typically do more of what we are rewarded for and do less of those things that yield no rewards or have negative consequences.
It is through this particular simplicity of human nature that a purposeful leader can realize their best leverage for shaping a stellar team.
A Leader’s most critical role is ensuring that those they lead are having the most courageous conversations possible.
One of the core guiding principles of courageous leadership is that you are always evolving the team. No matter what problems you are trying to solve or goals you are attempting to reach, there is ALWAYS a parallel agenda of building, strengthening and supporting a highly productive and creative team culture.
Confident leaders don’t concern themselves with being the smartest person in the room, just the most present and attentive.
It is not the leader’s primary function to generate the best ideas. A leader’s most important role is to create the culture and environment where courageous conversations, daring ideas, ingenious collaborations, healthy conflicts and bold actions can take root, grow and thrive.