Think about the terms we use to describe the business world: “campaign”, “chain of command”, “frontline” , “killing it” …
These are all hyper masculine terms rooted in war and conquest. That is nonetheless the business reality yet a segregated view of business that ostracizes opportunities for inclusion, innovation and sustainability. It’s a mentality of scarcity only because the energy of combat, or battle, is primarily linear without accounting for a more laterally expansive approach that would bring a counteracting force. Inherently, it creates a realm of conflict and constant struggle.
The way progressive, authentic companies and their leaders approach business today is changing drastically by the minute! Business is less about persuasion and individualistic gain but far more about relationships, collaboration and sustainable performance through authentic values. The companies that are growing, and sustaining that growth on the long term, are those focused on re-learning how to build authentic relationships and processes in a work environment that mutually benefit all stakeholders: community, employees, leaders, and shareholders alike.
For top business leaders and progressive management experts, the key to creating a mutually inclusive business environment, better relationships within the company and with customers, space for employee’s innovation expansion and manage sustainability challenges…is vulnerability.
Vulnerability has been considered a weakness and has been missing in our war-like business mindset & environment. The use of Vulnerability as a power tool in business is drastically changing the performance of leaders, hence the results companies experience in their employee engagement & retention, and of their bottom line.
It makes sense. The foundation of any negotiation, team or organization is always the people involved. The stronger and more transparent the relationships, the more trusting and cohesive the teams are, the stronger the business is! We, as humans, secretly crave vulnerability because we crave deeper and more meaningful connections. Unfortunately, most do not know how to have access to what is deemed a weak and negative value and capacity. To be willing to expose our hearts’ desires is the of opportunity to build trust, and trust is woven through the fabric of any above average business foundation & leadership. It only makes sense it has a place where we spend the vast majority of our waking hours, working with others towards goals. In this light, bringing in vulnerability as a value in our business hours no longer looks so frivolous after all!
How do leaders bring in vulnerability into their leadership style?
On my podcast, Thrive and Shine, I sat down with Corey Blake, the founder and CEO of Round Table Companies, a storytelling company & the publisher of Conscious Capitalism Press. Corey was a professional actor in Los Angeles & his work with books & graphic novels earned 15 awards. He is the creator of Vulnerability is Sexy™, game & award – winning documentary.
WATCH THE FULL EPISODE HERE:
Corey shares that in his work with teams and companies, bringing in vulnerability completely changes the dynamics of teams and groups, opening doors for new possibilities. The quality of work, creativity, the attitudes of team members changes. Choosing vulnerability, and witnessing others in that space, gives permission and freedom for us all to be more authentic.
HOW CAN LEADERS BRING IN VULNERABILITY?
How can leaders apply this in a way that is impactful and effective?
SET A TONE AND ENVIRONMENT FOR PRESENCE:
It’s awkward when others throw their deeper thoughts and experiences out, especially in a work environment. Well guided and impactful vulnerability needs qualification and permission. Request presence from an individual or group before sharing. Make sure that everyone is giving you permission to be on that deeper level and is willing to be present. There is nothing worse than a group being on their phone when you choose to engage deeper. Invite them there and make sure they accept for comfortability.
IN HOW YOU RESPOND:
Vulnerability within a leadership style doesn’t always have to appear in outwardly sharing. Vulnerability can come in the way a leader perceives and chooses to respond to the vulnerability of others. If other employees share at work or exhibit emotion in some capacity, the way leaders react has a huge impact on the way others react. If a leader welcomes vulnerability, it paves the way for a more open, creative and trusting business environment. Brave leaders are never avoiding the discomfort of an issue or a tough conversation.Vulnerability is disclosure, and is measured by “the amount of courage to show up and be seen when you can’t control the outcome” Brene Brown.
Again, from one of my favorite B. Brown … “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen [ … ] Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
As the business world shifts, it will be interesting to see which leaders adopt vulnerability as part of their leadership brand and how this excels their careers and teams. It’s something that takes practice for all of us who have been indoctrinated to mute all vulnerability to be on the “frontlines” of business. That is now an old box that we no longer need to fit in!
Are you interested in shifting your leadership mindset and bringing your brave and authentic power to the table? Please reach out to me for a free consultation, I would love to serve you.