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:”
- Ask honest questions with the intent to understand, not defend ourselves
- Be open to the possibility of change
- Absorb new data and revisit decisions
- 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.