Though vulnerability can be seen as a weakness of leadership, these experts share how being vulnerable in the right way can create an environment of open communication and lead to success.
- University of Houston research professor Brené Brown discusses in her book Daring Greatly how vulnerability is “our most accurate measurement of courage” rather than a weakness.
- According to Brown’s research, leaders who are willing to be vulnerable have a greater chance of cultivating trusting relationships, growing innovation, and establishing creativity and growth within the company culture, Forbes reports.
- In his book Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek agrees with Brown’s position, arguing that leaders who express vulnerability foster trust and safety in their company culture.
- Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions Of a Team discusses how leaders who will admit mistakes can create a level of comfort within a team that fosters productivity and innovation.
- Adding to the importance of vulnerability, Daniel Goleman discusses in his book Emotional Intelligence how an emotionally intelligent leader can create deeper and more meaningful connections with his team members.
Why it’s important
Being vulnerable in the right way at the workplace can give employees a sense of security, promote collaboration, and build a positive company culture. But establishing that habit of vulnerability can be more easily said than done.
Brown encourages leaders to practice authenticity in the workplace. If a leader fails to be authentic in his approach to vulnerability, team members will recognize it quickly. Brown encourages leaders to be authentic by “letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.”
Opening up to vulnerability is rarely comfortable, but Sinek says discomfort is worth the rewards. Rather than shying away from something uncomfortable, Sinek encourages leaders to embrace it and learn from the discomfort.
Part of opening up to vulnerability is being willing to admit to mistakes. Lencioni encourages leaders to be forthright about weaknesses and shortcomings rather than hiding them. This aspect of vulnerability will give team members the security to admit their mistakes, which can help everyone learn and grow.
Goleman shares that listening is an important part of building emotional intelligence and vulnerability. Listening to feedback, personal stories, or professional conversations can build trust between leaders and team members.
Vulnerability is not always an easy state of mind, but the rewards for being vulnerable with teammates are worth the discomfort.