A vulnerable leader… sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? Leaders are expected to be strong, confident and authoritative, not vulnerable, right?
Vulnerability in leadership requires a level of emotional intelligence and self-awareness that can be challenging to cultivate, but the benefits are worth it. So what does a vulnerable leader look like? Here are some key characteristics of a vulnerable leader that can help create a psychologically safe work environment.
Vulnerable leaders have a deep understanding of their strengths and well as their weaknesses and can acknowledge their imperfections and limitations and be open with their team. They are genuine and real and don’t pretend to be infallible or have all the answers. They share their true selves with their team.
Allows open, honest communication.
Vulnerable leaders encourage open and honest communication within their team. They are approachable and willing to listen to feedback, criticism and ideas. By doing this they build trust as their team members are more likely to trust and respect a leader who is open about their own vulnerabilities.
Willing to admit mistakes.
This is a tough one for anyone but vulnerable leaders are willing to admit when they are wrong and/or have made a mistake. This sets an amazing example for a team by showing them that it’s okay to make mistakes and admit when you’re wrong.
Fosters a healthy, collaborative work environment.
Vulnerable leaders value and foster collaboration within their teams. They see the collective strengths of their team as a powerful resource and not a threat and encourage their team to thrive in their strengths and not be held back by their weaknesses.
Being vulnerable is not easy… but it IS worth it! If you open yourself up and your team sees that you are being vulnerable, it opens the door for them to be themselves and vulnerable as well. This can create a psychologically safe work environment which gives your team the safety to try new things and be innovative, to truly thrive. And in turn, this will only benefit you, your team and your organization as a whole.
Being a leader can be lonely, and it’s hard to be vulnerable. LeaderImpact Groups are where leaders can go to be safe and supported in whatever they are going through. Find out more about groups and how you can join one. https://leaderimpact.ca/join/