The most powerful leadership moment occurs when someone is vulnerable.
Leadership is influence.
Vulnerability is the channel of influence.
Vulnerability is the moment when others are crushed, lifted, inspired, or demotivated. Additionally, the more authority you have the greater your opportunity to use or abuse vulnerability.
Vulnerability is the greatest gift leaders receive.
Vulnerable moments happen when others…
- Are excited over results that you believe could be better.
- Take initiative in the “wrong” area.
- Disagree with you.
- Are disrespected by high performers.
- Share personal frustrations.
- Speak from incomplete information.
- Call you out when you dropped the ball.
Bonus: Vulnerable moments happen when others reveal insecurities and fears.
Manipulation is the only option
where vulnerability doesn’t exist.
Wise leaders respect and protect vulnerability.
- Explore intent. Look beyond externals and ask what’s important. Bring out the real person. Respect sincerity.
- Separate affirmations from corrections. Affirmations followed by corrections negate affirmations.
- Express belief when challenging. It’s easy to point out short falls. Powerful influence includes believing in them more than they believe in themselves.
- Honor and affirm the courage of transparency. “Thanks for saying what you really think. Keep it up.”
- Be vulnerable yourself.
Bonus: Thank, don’t excuse when you receive negative feedback.
Vulnerability or fear:
Leaders destroy positive influence when others feel the need to protect themselves. Relationships without vulnerability are driven by self-protective fear.
Respect includes voluntary vulnerability; fear expels it.
Connections of influence are built on the strength of vulnerability. Wise leaders make vulnerability safe.
How can leaders create environments where vulnerability is safe?