Saturday, November 6, 2010

Is Vulnerability in CEO Leadership Desirable?

The more successful we become the more vulnerable we are. It comes with the higher visibility at the top. It is a great time to share our successess with the audience, but what about our failures? Are we ready for the critique? Are we ready to stand out in confidence and act decisively even when others stand still in doubt?
Being vulnerable means not to hide ourselves, go beyond our doubts and fears, beyond our comfort zone. Opening ourselves, opening our minds to others. Acting authentically. enables us to match our challenges and ambitions with the audience and find the common ground needed to do great things together.  Vulnerability inspires and guides. It shows human nature of each leader. It puts energy into giving more than expected to people.
When leaders are perceived as human and vulnerable, employees identify with those attributes and begin to see the potential for success and leadership in themselves. So do not be afraid to be perceived as vulnerable.  Show that you are a real person and you'll be amazed how a Company culture can change from one where people hide everything and focus on covering up mistakes to one where mistakes are considered to be a key step in learning and mastering the skill.  People will begin to ask for help before they bury themselves or the organization.
When employees have the unshakeable belief that their manager’s intentions are reasonable and pure, without any hidden agenda, they do not feel guarded or protective when being around. This promotes a stronger feeling of their trust. They feel secure because their vulnerabilities will not be used against them in any way.
People sometimes believe that if they admit a weakness or fear, if they acknowledge their uncertainty they’ll never be taken seriously. No one wants to be considered weak. However vulnerability and weakness are two different things. People who are weak avoid direct conflict, they are ineffective and not inspirational. They manage others by spreading rumours, fear and uncertainty. This is very different from being vulnerable. A vulnerable leader may be an extremely nice individual, but his niceness doesn’t get in his way to make tough decisions or to hold others accountable, he is more tough than anybody else when necessary.
The challenge of vulnerability comes with the first failure. Are we able at any circumstances go beyond our comfort zone, stay authentic and trusting others? Are we able to understand that ackwnowledging our weaknesses leads to success and growth?
IT TAKES STRENGTH TO ADMIT OUR VULNERABILITY. But it pays off because it builds trust and inspires performance.
Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, for Fortune Magazine: “The hardest thing about being a leader is demonstrating or showing vulnerability. And that has a lot to do with trust. ..When the leader demonstrates vulnerability and sensibility and brings people together, the team wins.” 
P.S.  Teaser for my next blog: “ In Between Jobs – Pain or Pleasure?“

No comments:

Post a Comment