A Secret to Being a Great Leader
Leadership requires many qualities, but there is one that will make a good leader become a great leader. The secret to becoming a great leader is vulnerability.
We hear a lot about authenticity as an essential quality for any good leader. But authenticity comes with a significant challenge: that of knowing how to be vulnerable.
Why is it a challenge to be vulnerable? Vulnerability requires a lot of courage to let your guard down, admit your mistakes, express your doubts, expose your shortcomings, and ask for help, especially when you are leading a group of people.
According to Brené Brown, a researcher on vulnerability, “Vulnerability is having the courage to come forward and be seen when you know there are no guarantees.”
Vulnerability is about walking a fine line and being able to maintain balance through great self-knowledge and confidence. It requires a healthy dose of self-esteem to be able to show yourself as you are while remaining convinced of your worth, and not sink into doubt and uncertainty when facing a challenge.
Vulnerability is a necessary strength in leadership. Since authenticity is the basis of all human relationships, it is essential to replace distance and coldness, often characteristic of professional relationships, with openness and transparency.
Vulnerability is one of the basics in communication, which means openness and being open to sharing yourself no matter what; this is the hardest part to effective communication in any relationship. Leaders need to have great communication skills to not only build relationships but to also ensure that goals are conveyed and achieved.
You are vulnerable when you are accessible and transparent. You may believe that a good leader needs to keep a certain distance from his or her team and project an image of authority at all times. However, adopting such an attitude to gain respect often has the opposite consequence. Who wants to follow someone who seems cold and inaccessible?
Authentic and transparent leaders establish genuine relationships with their teams and reap more positive and constructive behaviors others. Don’t be afraid to share your doubts and fears, that only makes you human. Doubts and fears are part of everyone’s daily life, even the best leaders. Express them with a point of being transparent to obtain the support of others; it will create empathy among the team while establishing an open culture so all will feel safe to share theirs. This will naturally strengthen the bonds with others to create more trust and engagement.
And lastly, don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes. Taking responsibility for your own, rather than making excuses or blaming others, is about integrity which is an inspiring and unifying trait. By doing so, others will know that they too can dare to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from their failures.
While being vulnerable sounds hard, it is the trait of a great leader. It does take courage but isn’t it the hard things that bring out our strengths to move forward?
If you’d like help to be more open and develop your leadership skills, reach out as we have proven methods that will get and keep you going. You don’t have to struggle – support is available.