Billionaire Richard Branson says what separates great leaders from the pack really comes down to ONE word. One of the biggest myths surrounding this leadership strength is that it's a sign of weakness.
One of the factors behind ineffective leadership is that person's inability to display the strength of the most exceptional leaders: vulnerability.
There's immense power in being openly vulnerable. It allows a leader to emotionally connect with employees. And when employees connect with their leaders, they will walk through walls for them.
One of the biggest myths surrounding vulnerability is that it's a sign of weakness in the leadership realm. Vulnerability is not a weakness, but one of our most accurate measures of courage.
Think about the last time you saw someone do something that was brave. Guaranteed that vulnerability will be there.
The number of times I have launched into a new project and thought, great let's do this and not had second thoughts before facing the huge wall in front of me and feeling pangs of vulnerability on many levels as the ball gets rolling. Even for Myth vs Reality!
According to the different types of losses, the vulnerability can be defined as physical vulnerability, economic vulnerability, social vulnerability and environmental vulnerability.
Margarita Amam responded to the topic recently on an Instagram story poll I ran by quoting;
Vulnerability is great for enabling employees or others to see you as human with flaws and showing your emotional desire to do well.
Vulnerability lifts the veil of being high status and unapproachable in a way..
…but I think humility is key since that is what needed in a balanced and calm as well as in a high stake situation and humility provides the basis for a psychological safe environment to voice opposing or critical opinions.
While vulnerability might show your hurt humility will allow you to listen.
Vulnerability is about / for you.
Humility is about / for others.
Since vulnerability - like any other leadership behaviour - takes practice, here are three ways to do it with my own examples to back up.
Be willing to ask for help
Vulnerable leaders have no issues about not knowing everything or having all the answers. They don't pretend to be "the expert." They leverage the skills of their knowledge workers on the frontlines and ask for their assistance. When you start asking your employees for help, something incredible happens: They'll want to step up and help, and it spreads outwardly. Your workforce's loyalty and commitment will rise.
This is what am doing with Myth vs Reality Circle for Luxury Professionals. You may recall I began the journey by asking everyone for questions pre inaugural event?
Then what was the MYTH was the expectation was from attendees was for me to sit on a high chair as an "expert" and share my findings with everyone while they nodded off to sleep with a glass of wine listening. The REALITY was a far cry - the tables turned and THEY were in the drivers seat, while I moderated. That's what it boils down to, showing that you are a human and not relying on yourself but asking for others' help to make something grow and bloom to the benefit of ALL not just one person.
Share personal stories about making mistakes
Personal stories lets people know that you are human and imperfect, just like the rest of them. By sharing the mistakes you've made and the lessons you learned from them, people will no longer fear and hide when they make theirs. Story-telling as an authentic human lets your followers know you've been in their shoes, and helps you connect emotionally with them.
I've created countless new projects, seen them fly, crash and burn but what has been the bottom line is that I just keep going and have no shame admitting that I am a human and sometimes I got it wrong and learn from my mistakes as I go along. Proof of this was sharing my story about how I reconverted after the pandemic showing all my "war wounds" openly to a Monaco magazine. I had no shame in doing so because all in all, I am proud of what I did, where I was and where I was going.
Perhaps by sharing my story and showing my vulnerability, I can help others who are in my footsteps. Every experience is an experience.
Commit to your promises
Failure to be your word and follow through on your promises may lead to people questioning your integrity and reliability. For example, ever trust a person who lets you down a number of times? It's usually a reflection of character. Vulnerable and authentic leaders do what they say they're going to do - it's a matter of integrity. Their word means something to them, and they don't take it lightly.
Interestingly, after my inaugural Myth vs Reality event, I received a message from one of the attendees (will not mention their name) and who knew me having been solicited freelance for an event in Monaco.
Their question was, will the same happen to Myth vs Reality as the other event, ie that the hype for the event takes place and then nothing happens after to continue it progressing and developing.
I took this comment very much to heart as I knew why I had not continued with the other event as a freelance because simply my time and work was not valued enough and I decided to step away. Noone however, continued with the same passion as I had pre and during the event. So the whole project lost momentum, causing question marks to the integrity of the event host whose idea it was to host the event in the first place!
When I say I will do, I do, the only thing I have realised is that others do not follow suit! The amount of attendees who said they'd get back to me with their feedback, and who didn't for example, or who were keen to be partners and then backed into the darkness.
But it's ok, because my word is held and those who have shown interest are very much there and making this think-tank circle go in the right direction.
TO SUM UP
Transparency, straightforwardness, and simplicity are essential traits to show off that human side and gain traction as a great "leader". Being humane is linked to a higher level of a person's character.
Revealing a weakness is all about showing your audience that you are genuine and approachable - human and humane.
That is the very essence of Myth vs Reality Circle of Luxury Professionals - showing those working in Luxury that we are human and do things in a humane way. Only those who have these traits will make a great circle professional because it is about US not YOU or ME.
Comment below what your thoughts are.