This week I attended a webinar hosted by Dan Rockwell (Leadership Freak blogger) as he interviewed Stephen M. R. Covey on the crisis of trust. If you attended this learning event, I think you’ll also agree that it was an excellent webinar, and Covey made some great points about trust and leadership. One, in particular, struck a chord with me as he talked about the importance of vulnerability in regards to leadership and in building trust.
He said, “Vulnerability is influence-ability.” Now, that, my friends, is a powerful statement! And what is leadership, again? Influence! So, vulnerability increases our ability to influence (lead) others.
Why is vulnerability such an attractive yet rare leadership trait? It’s rarely talked about. I believe it’s because many leaders believe vulnerability is a sign of weakness. The truth is vulnerability is actually a sign of confidence. It takes a confident person to be willing to open themselves up and be vulnerable.
So, what does vulnerability look like in a leader? Here are some examples to live out:
- Listening to others’ opinions and thoughts without being judgmental or jumping to conclusions (or interrupting!)
- Asking for teammates’ feedback and accepting that feedback without becoming defensive
- Admitting when you’re wrong so others can see your self-awareness
- Always being honest
- Sharing – rather than hoarding – information
- Taking necessary risks to build or strengthen the relationship
- Understanding that, though you may be the leader, your way isn’t always going to be the best way
- Investing in and growing others for their benefit
- Not concerning ourselves with political posturing
- Striving to understand where people are coming from
- Showing that you honestly care about the people with whom you work
- Allowing others’ strengths to fill in for your weaknesses