“My Power Lies in My Vulnerability” may not be something we would think up as a campaign slogan for a political candidate. However, as increasing value is placed on collaborative leadership, it is a key factor differentiating outstanding leaders as they take on the challenge of actively practicing vulnerability.
Thinking about being vulnerable can be by its very nature uncomfortable and frightening. When we’re faced with new circumstances, feel threatened or feel the need to prove ourselves, we often cling to the power of position or knowledge. But it is this type of power that moves us away from our own learning and stifles both our own potential and the potential of our organizations.
Putting vulnerability into practice requires faith and trust in our ability to be with any of the perceived consequences of exposing our soft underbelly. And when we take a breath and step into greater authenticity, we release ourselves from self-made barriers to thriving, productive relationships. When we allow people room to fail (including ourselves!), we finally create enough space to spread the wings of full potential and truly soar. By depending on others and not ourselves to have ‘the answers,’ we create ownership among all participants, and in the process can transform an organization. The list of benefits goes on and on…
There are ways even the most vulnerability seeking of us hold back. Where are you hiding your vulnerability? In your expertise? Withholding your honest opinions? Clinging to the notion that you have to come up with all the answers? Holding on to control with a white-knuckle grip?
I challenge you to relax your control in one meaningful way today. Examine different rules you may have for personal vulnerability and professional vulnerability, and ultimately further develop your power in vulnerability. What insights have you gained from this exercise?