Written by: Louise Parker, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Let's be honest for a moment. Being vulnerable, showing ‘weakness’ or admitting that perfect is not in existence, can be utterly terrifying for anyone, let alone a leader! In fact, it can be so scary that only a minute proportion of leaders are willing even to admit that their organisation/company have challenges!!
But is there really an organisation/company out there that is not facing challenges currently?
The organisations that willingly and openly share challenges are statistically proven to foster better relationships with their staff and therefore the staff are increasingly inspired to give their best efforts. And this open sharing depends on the ability of the organisation/companies’ leaders to be vulnerable.
There is a huge misconception with vulnerability, particularly within the workplace. Vulnerability is not about sharing the full intricacies of your entire life; you do not need to discuss the detail of your relationship struggles with everyone. It’s not about the big meltdown in the office, or the emotional outburst at the board meeting and becoming known as the emotional employee!
Vulnerability is about connecting with others and seeking support and advice with something you are struggling with, opening up as an ally with your staff when organisation direction is dictated in a way that is not in line with your values but providing opportunity and hope for influencing the intricacies of the new direction
It's being connected to yourself, to your emotions and allowing those emotions to be seen. This doesn’t mean all the big, showy expressions such as crying, or anger. It is the quiet observer who is in touch with the emotional pulse of the environment they are in. Being connected not only to your emotion, but to the emotions of your team and peers, inspiring vulnerability across the organisation
Vulnerability is going to maximise your relationships and trust with your colleagues and in turn drive performance. It is a must have skill for all leaders in organisations that are focussed on a compassionate culture that truly values its employees
5 Top Tips for embracing vulnerability
1. Be connected with yourself
In order to build your soft skills of vulnerability, you must have a deep connection with yourself. Understand who you are, what your values are and how they drive your behaviours in your authentic being. Once you are connected with yourself, only then can you understand your emotions and be able to understand what you are comfortable in sharing and where your vulnerability boundary can be set!
2. Know the Boundaries
Without boundaries, vulnerability is simply not a vulnerability! Setting clear boundaries with yourself around the level of detail that you want to share around your emotions, but also being clear on what is appropriate.
It is absolutely acceptable to share with your team the personal challenges you are facing that have been impacting on you at work, but it is not ok to keep complaining about it and using it as an excuse for poor behaviours.
3. Listen to understand
It's not always about sharing. Vulnerability is also stepping back, listening, and letting go of control. Remember that sometimes the most powerful vulnerability is taking a step back in a conversation, listening not speaking and absorbing information. Particularly important when you are used to being the loudest voice in the room!
4. Get comfortable asking for help
Let go of perfection, stop people pleasing and avoiding delegation. Embrace asking for help when you need it and show that asking for help is not a demonstration of weakness. It is in collaboration that we can be truly courageous and show our authentic selves. A leader that actively demonstrates that there is no ‘I’ in team, will effectively build the trust and respect needed to foster positive working relationships.
5. Truly care about others
Vulnerability is not only a skill of sharing your emotion, you also need to truly empathise with others’ emotions. You are not going to build the trust in your team that will truly drive team cohesion and performance if you are all about sharing your ‘troubles’ but have no interest in supporting others with theirs. It's one thing to know what others are experiencing, but it is another to understand!
Your authenticity comes from your ability to be vulnerable. Having the courage to be vulnerable will make you a better leader, colleague, and employee. It isn’t simply about getting something off your chest, it's connection, engagement, and support that will maximise your relationships and level up your leadership.
Louise Parker, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Louise Parker, is an Internationally Accredited Transformational Leadership coach, NLP Practitioner and Practitioner in TimeLine Therapy. She provides coaching on a 1-1 and group basis following her Leaders Ignited process with a focus on leader mindset, alongside the provision of training across online platforms. Louise has always had a deep desire to help others, and this led her to an 18 year career as a registered nurse, clinical leader and Director in the NHS. Following her own transformation journey, Louise added to her First Class Honours Degree in Nursing, to become an Internationally accredited coach to fully understand the transformation journey in order to empower her clients to level up their leadership and master their leader mindset.