I Am Going Out On A Limb Here by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC

Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness.

If it doesn’t feel vulnerable, the sharing is probably not productive.

~Brené Brown

There are many different business models or approaches to leadership and management. A traditional model is one of managers as the omnipotent authority, with the leader presenting a strong, impenetrable management style.

With this model, conversations with leadership are more like lectures, with the leader expected to impart the necessary wisdom, solutions, or make the decision based on facts and evidence. Vulnerability in this model is not a positive trait and, in fact, is typically seen as a significant weakness.

The result of this model is an “us” and “them” mentality, with everyone outside of the leadership team expected to follow the directions of the manager or leader based on their position of authority. The result is often a workforce that feels disconnected, disrespected, and lacks a sense of connection or trust in the leadership.

Making a Change

Leaders and individuals who can open up and share their true and authentic selves are seen differently than the old-school dominant and authoritative leaders.

A person willing to be vulnerable in a conversation in either a personal or a professional relationship sets the stage for a better connection, increased respect, and a recognition of who they are as an individual without trying to put up the superman or superwoman persona.

Letting go of the need to hold onto a façade opens up the possibility for increased creativity, honesty, and trust. However, it is not without its risks. For many people, admitting they have uncertainties or may have a lack of specific knowledge can be very frightening and even unsettling.

Know Yourself

One way to become more vulnerable is to know your own strengths and weaknesses. Getting comfortable in recognizing that we don’t know everything and that others in the organization or in the relationship may have more expertise and knowledge is an effective step.

Recognizing the other person has more knowledge or experience is one way of becoming more vulnerable. Asking questions and becoming the learner in the conversation is another way to demonstrate vulnerability. The outcome of this type of conversation is building trust and respect while also opening up the door for creativity and increased understanding.

Sharing goals, working collaborative, and asking for assistance are all ways to become more vulnerable in work and personal relationships. This transformation to being more authentic and vulnerable is an exceptional way to model team-building behaviors that focus on respect, autonomy, and collaboration throughout an organization or interpersonal relationship.