As scary as this thought is for leaders who have not tried it on—leader vulnerability is the access to real, authentic power.
As a leader, being vulnerable happens when you are transparent; doing such things as telling it like it is even when the news is not pretty and even when the thought is terrifying. Like admitting that customers hated the launch, the product, or the event. One famous example of a product failure that led to the reintroduction of Coke Classic was the much-publicized introduction of the NEW Coke. Just when you think you’ve got everything all figured out, reality comes knocking. You create transparency and that is vulnerable. You are vulnerable by being transparent. Both improve trust.
I’ve personally learned this lesson, and it has softened me and made me — well — VULNERABLE. And powerful.
Ori Brafman, author of Click: The Magic of Instant Connections, says vulnerability can actually be one of the best ways to engender trust with employees. In an Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture, presented at Stanford University, Ori pointed out that instead of giving power away, vulnerability creates a binding, deep relationship within the workplace, one that also gives managers a “soft power” that they can use to keep the company running.
The down side of success is that it can make leaders think they are masters of the Universe. This is faulty thinking; NO one is master of the Universe — not even our own!
Trust and transparency are interwoven. Life and business are unpredictable and anyone who has not noticed is not very observant. Certainly your employees have noticed. They are not counting on you any more for the gold watch at the end of their watch over your company. Even some IBM’ers — those whose velvet glove met and exceeded expectations once upon a time — are seeking second jobs and planning exits to be on their own. My brother-in-law worked for IBM his entire adult life only to be cut loose short of retirement age after surviving change after change after change.
Then again, good things (powerful things) happen when a leader is transparent. In Part Two of this series, I will share Why Transparency Should be Attractive to Leaders. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, if you’re looking to create transparency among your team, in a safe environment, here’s your chance.
Bring your current challenges to a safe space while upgrading your leadership skills in a setting of peers. Apply today for my Team Leader Effectiveness Course. The next date is October 30.
Each course is limited to 12 participants, so apply early!