Vulnerability as strength
Shauna Piscitello, www.soulutionsforbalance.com
We are beginning to hear from some of the most effective, forward thinking leaders that vulnerability is essential in leading and managing organizations. Howard Schulz, former CEO and current Chairman of Starbucks credits much of his success on his willingness to be vulnerable. On a personal level, Bill George former CEO of Medtronic claims it wasn’t until he was vulnerable enough to be himself that he could truly enjoy his work, his colleagues and realize his own well-being. According to this Forbes article, The Best Leaders are Vulnerable, it was once considered a sign of weakness, but is slowly emerging as a sign of strength. Since researcher Brene Brown’s 2010 Ted Talk highlighting her work on the subject, the discussions around vulnerability have changed significantly. The question is how do we do this if we’ve been conditioned to not show our emotions or share our weaknesses since childhood? Most work environments are not conducive to revealing how we truly feel especially if our truth may make others feel uncomfortable or worse yet, cause others to judge us. In order to be vulnerable we must practice self awareness. We must start to be more curious about those places we want to avoid in ourselves. If we feel challenged to share – what is behind it? Fear of being judged, shame, grief, unworthiness? In what ways could I be more transparent? Mindfulness meditation is one place to start investigating our vulnerabilities and our motivations. When we check in with our emotions on a regular basis this strengthens our attention and awareness of how we are doing at any given moment. It may also give us the opportunity to question old belief patterns. When we lead with more vulnerability it opens the door for those around us to be more open and honest. We may learn from our common humanity and build something greater and more creative than if we had no
Not sure where to start on your journey to practicing more vulnerability? Start listening to and joining the conversations around it.
I have not read it yet, but looking forward to Brene Brown’s most recent book Dare to Lead. Here is a short clip from one of her workshops on “Embracing Vulnerability.”