I discussed previously that Leadership requires building relationships with others. The “V” in my definition of L.O.V.E. is “vulnerable.” The definition of vulnerable is very interesting to me because it includes words like weak, defenseless, or powerless. However, showing vulnerability as a leader to me means very different things and is so important in strengthening our relationships. I feel like a secondary definition should include words like brave, strength, and openness (remember that one?).
Being vulnerable as a leader means that you show emotion and you’re ok with sharing your weaknesses and things that you personally need to work on to be a better leader; or those things in life that you’ve struggled with and made you who you are today. This is a form of bravery when you allow others to see that you’re willing to admit to weaknesses but also willing to ask others for help in order to improve as a person. This helps to build emotional connections, thus, improving relationships.
Vulnerability as a leader also includes sharing some personal stories about yourself. This doesn’t mean you have to share those deepest secrets, however, it does mean that you need to show that you’re human like everyone else; that life impacts you in the same way it does for others. I have several personal examples so I’ll share one here. I have a 15 year old daughter with special needs. She has a neurogenetic disorder known as Angelman Syndrome. I’ve never been embarrassed or shied away from sharing this with those I work with; in fact, I thrive on it because it is a way for me to express my emotion, relieve stress that comes along with being a father of a disabled child and also helps to raise awareness of this disorder that is many times confused with Cerebral Palsy or Autism. To learn more about Angelman Syndrome or to give back, click here. The point is that we’re all human, we all have successes, failures, challenges and many other things that life throws our way. Knowing that we all have this in common, we might as well share our stories and lean on one another as we walk through life.
So, be of service to others, show your true self and build those deeper connections in order to become a better leader.