The Importance of Vulnerability in Leadership

“Vulnerability is not weakness. It is our greatest measure of courage.” – Brene Brown*

Let’s talk about vulnerability. Vulnerability comes to mind when we’re in situations with high levels of uncertainty, staring down a risky situation without a clear outcome, or a stressful emotional situation. But what about vulnerability in the workplace? If your first thought is “There’s no place for vulnerability in the office, then let me point you in another direction. 

Brene Brown’s 2010 TED talk about vulnerability has 60 million views*…. Which leads us to the conclusion that it has to be something we all talk about. Vulnerability is connected to every other emotion we feel in and out of the workplace. From the work we’ve done, it’s clear that encouraging people to be themselves and eliminating the sense of ‘other’ people feel in the workplace increases an overall sense of belonging.

Vulnerability in the workplace is not over expressive shows of emotion, but often the voice we quiet inside our minds. Leadership is not about being confident at all times. It’s about acknowledging that you don’t know all the answers. Vulnerability is about being comfortable showing our weaknesses, and sharing them with others. 

Here’s what vulnerability looks like in the workplace:

  1. “I don’t know the answer to this, but let me find someone who does.”
  2. “This incredible idea didn’t come from me… it came from my colleague, Sam.”
  3. “I was wrong. Thank you for pointing that out and steering me in another direction.”
  4. “I misunderstood you the first time, and I apologize. Can you help me understand your perspective?”

If you demonstrate these skills as a leader, it becomes a domino effect amongst your team. Setting the stage that vulnerability is not just acceptable – but encouraged – can go a long way with your team to build empathy, kindness, and acceptance of faults and missteps.

We’ve demonstrated this with our team and with our clients. If you are in need of guidance with people management and growing stronger, more effective teams, book a call

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