Written by: Dr. Wendy Norfleet, 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.
Today’s leaders are often expected to be strong and invincible. While there are times that we would all like to be seen with this strength, studies have shown that vulnerability can be a powerful tool for effective leadership. It may sound counterintuitive, but leaders willing to show their weaknesses and vulnerabilities can inspire greater trust, loyalty, and team productivity. According to the Development Dimensions International, Inc. (DDI) Global Leadership Forecast (GLF) 2023 research, the largest leadership study of its kind, leaders are struggling with vulnerability. Many leaders self-report as vulnerable, but their direct reports tell a different story. If the benefits of being a vulnerable leader are better understood, many leaders may be more open to vulnerability and realize that it can lead to success.
This article will explore the surprising benefits of vulnerability in leadership and how it can help you become a more effective leader.
Benefits of vulnerability in leadership
According to the DDI's Global Leadership Forecast (GLF) 2023 research, the largest leadership study of its kind, leaders are struggling with vulnerability. Many leaders self-report as vulnerable, but their direct reports tell a different story.
While there may be more benefits than discussed here, the surprising benefits of being vulnerable will help you become a better leader.
Build stronger relationships
Vulnerability can help build stronger relationships with team members. When leaders are vulnerable and open about their challenges, team members are likelier to empathize with them and feel a sense of connection. This can create a more caring and supportive work environment where team members feel comfortable sharing their challenges and seeking help from others. As a result, team members may become more invested in their work and more willing to go the extra mile for their team and organization.
Vulnerability can help improve communication within teams. When leaders are open about their thoughts, feelings, and concerns, it can encourage team members to do the same. This can create an open and honest communication culture where team members feel comfortable sharing their feedback and ideas without fear of judgment or retaliation. As a result, teams may become more creative, innovative, and productive as they can work together more effectively and collaboratively.
Become more authentic and relatable
Vulnerability can help leaders become more authentic and relatable. Leaders willing to show their vulnerabilities are seen as more human and approachable. This can help break down barriers between leaders and team members, making it easier for them to connect personally. As a result, team members may be more likely to trust and respect their leaders and be more willing to follow their lead.
Become more resilient
Vulnerability can help leaders become more resilient. When leaders are open about their challenges and failures, they can learn from them and move forward better. This can help them become more adaptable and agile, as they can respond more effectively to changing circumstances. As a result, leaders may be better equipped to navigate complex challenges and lead their teams to success.
In conclusion, vulnerability is a powerful tool for effective leadership. Being open and honest about your weaknesses and challenges can build stronger relationships, improve communication, and become more authentic, relatable, and resilient. While vulnerability may initially be uncomfortable, it can help you become a more effective and successful leader.
Dr. Wendy Norfleet, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Dr. Wendy Norfleet is an engineer turned CEO, author, certified coach, and community advocate. Leveraging her business knowledge, leadership skills, community engagement, and desire to help others, she works with individuals and organizations to identify challenges, execute solutions, and achieve results. In recognition of her service, Wendy has been honored with numerous leadership awards, recognized as a Women of Influence by the Jacksonville Business Journal, selected as a 2021 Small Business Leader of the Year, and helped her company achieve the 2021 Corporate Vision Award for Best Business Consulting and Coaching Company ‒ North Florida.