In talking with my social media writer Lindsey Gough about potential newsletter subjects, she said something that struck me as valuable and I wanted to share it here.
She said: “Your vulnerability is not unprofessional.”
Oftentimes as leaders we want to present a strong, confident persona, so we avoid getting personal or showing vulnerability. But Lindsey is right, showing vulnerability isn’t weak or lacking confidence. A vulnerable leader builds a stronger team where members feel seen, heard, and know that their humanity is valued.
Vulnerability is one of those things where leaders need to go first – offering vulnerability first to encourage team members to do the same, demonstrating that it is safe and welcome.
Being vulnerable isn’t always easy, and can sometimes be counterintuitive for leaders. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Acknowledge/accept your value. Keep your imposter thoughts in check. (Stay tuned for more on managing imposter syndrome next week!)
- Consider what vulnerability looks like remotely. Don’t worry about your kids or pets popping up in the background of a zoom call – this kind of situation is highly relatable and helps humanize you!
- Don’t put up walls. When you feel yourself approaching an opportunity for vulnerability, allow yourself to acknowledge and honor the feelings out loud. This sets an incredible example for team members to do the same, and again humanizes you in their minds.
- Appreciate people when they are taking personal risks and make sure it is safe for them to be themselves.
Tell the story about completely leaving your twins stroller on the side of the road. (True story) Share the exhaustion you’re experiencing in caregiving for an elderly parent. Introduce your dog as they bark in the background of your zoom call. These situations don’t make you seem incompetent or scattered – they’re highly relatable and can do wonders for teambuilding. Your vulnerability is NOT unprofessional.
“People can be at their most vulnerable, but still tenacious at the same time.” – Toni Bernhard
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