There are infinite advantages for leaders who choose to show their vulnerabilities. Similarly, for those who choose to hide behind a closed exterior without really showing who they are, there are distinct disadvantages which not only impact the Leader and the Team but the wider organization and potentially their bottom line too.
Why Are Leaders Afraid to Be Vulnerable?
It’s no secret that vulnerability in business can be perceived as weakness. Conventionally speaking, negotiations, making demands, and leading others could be more difficult from a position of perceived weakness.
However, for many business owners, the façade of over-projecting confidence comes at a cost to their business. More importantly, this could be something they are unaware of and therefore, unable to act upon.
Admitting YOU made a mistake, forgiving errors, staying calm, listening, suggesting and not telling, sincerity, compassion, and taking risks are all key characteristics of a vulnerable leader.
Leaders who show their vulnerabilities are more authentic, more inspirational, more relatable, and can build better bonds that result in uplifted performance and greater loyalty for their teams.
When leaders are vulnerable, they are more open and emotionally available, which creates better bonding opportunities and improves team performance.
Authenticity – The specific behaviours of authentic leaders include showing emotion, being able to admit when you make a mistake, and not hiding behind a cloak of mystery. Showing who you really are can dispel concern around ambiguity and guesswork among team members.
Forgiveness – Having a nurturing and supportive culture that enables forgiveness can result in better productivity, more autonomy, and increased confidence in capability, as individuals are not afraid to make mistakes and have the opportunity to learn.
Team Work – Being aloof as a leader does not promote teamwork. Instead, people try to guess what you want, and this isn’t the most conducive methodology when we talk specifically about collaboration and cross-functional working. Vulnerable leaders enhance their team working efforts by setting clear expectations in an open and honest setting.
Problem-Solving – You need people to feel comfortable with raising the alarm. If your culture is one of retribution, trying to solve problems decisively, and constructively is a real challenge. It promotes predictability in leadership and eliminates perceived fear.
Inspiring Creativity – A vulnerable leader can admit they don’t always have all the answers. This helps teams to open up and paves the way for creativity. The more comfortable people feel at being able to speak up and make suggestions, the more inspired they will be.
Communication – Being able to honestly, openly, and authentically share information is important. When this is normal behaviour, teams feel confident and comfortable opening up to one another. The end result is a freer-more flowing channel of communication.
A human connection is what matters most. Be human, be yourself, and lead from the front with your team firmly behind you and your objectives.