Leading with Vulnerability

Leadership challenges are more complex today than ever before. 

In roles as a CEO, CFO and now as a management consultant with OVP Management Consulting Group, I have been exposed to a diverse range of organizations, teams and critical challenges. Collectively, these experiences have contributed to the person and business leader I am today.

Occasionally colleagues and newer leaders alike ask me for my perspective on leadership. When they do, I’ve noticed that even as they are faced with a multitude of complex workplace issues, trying to figure out how best to show compassion and vulnerability with people is difficult.

In her new Netflix special Brené  Brown: The Call to Courage, leadership expert and author Brené  Brown talks extensively about the need for vulnerability and courage in leadership. These meta-skills sometimes go counter to traditional problem-solving models. But, I’ve found that they are indispensable for any leader of people.

Pam Hill, Senior Management Consultant

Pam Hill, Senior Management Consultant

Today, I want to share a few of the greatest leadership lessons I have learned throughout my career.

  • Put difficulties into perspective

    Adversity is inevitable. Challenges, setbacks, disappointment, criticism – you won’t be able to avoid these for long. So when you fail, fail fast. Capture the lessons, devote time to continuous learning so that your knowledge and skills remain relevant, and move forward.  

  • Ask for help

    I was not especially open to help in my career when first starting out. I didn’t want to impose on others. I didn’t want to appear weak. But it finally dawned on me that by letting people help me, I would be giving them the gift of feeling helpful. Beyond the value of the help I received, they would shift from bystanders to engaged investors in my success.

  • Everyone can help you learn something

    It  goes without saying that everyone has their own style of leadership and personal brand. , with tools that can be leveraged across many roles. Observing how others handle themselves – peers, management, and other external leaders – and complementing these with the core competencies in our toolkit, is a great way to approach new experiences. 

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In each of these examples, leaders are forced to confront levels of vulnerability that can challenge one’s concept of being a real leader. What I have found, however, is that confronting discomfort in the workplace can result in greater group understanding and often better results.

Leadership is a constant assessment and reevaluation, so the more you can leverage your transferable skills and learn from the experiences of others – good or bad– the better off you’ll be when you’re positioned to make the decisions.

Much like scaling a mountain, leading with vulnerability and courage requires the ability to focus, assess and then climb. You may not know where you’ll find the next tow-hold. But when a new opportunity is presented to add value in larger capacity or different way, you won’t underestimate yourself, and you’ll make that move.

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