Vulnerability as a Choice

Vulnerability as a Choice

Brené Brown is an expert on vulnerability and authenticity. When I first watched her TED talks two years ago, I too quickly dismissed her ideas as being too weak for business applications. I was wrong. A conference speaker recently prompted me to take another look. I’m glad I did. The results align with the principles of EOS®.

Vulnerability is a choice that empowers leaders to engage employees. It’s a decision to create connection through empathy. It requires the strength to admit mistakes, ask for help, hear others’ opinions, and venture into the unknown.

Choosing to be vulnerable starts with a mindset: a willingness to be wrong; to suspend judgment for the time being; and to be comfortable with ambiguity. Those are not easy. Nor is “the how:”

  1. Ask honest questions with the intent to understand, not defend ourselves
  2. Be open to the possibility of change
  3. Absorb new data and revisit decisions
  4. Try new things that might be mistakes

Vulnerability doesn’t replace the other attributes of being a strong leader, such as creating a powerful vision or making smart decisions. It’s not either/or. It’s simply one part of our arsenal of leadership. 

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