Why embracing vulnerability makes you a better leader

by L&D21 Jul 2016
Success in leadership doesn’t come with the title or the role, said Rowdy McLean, leadership consultant and author of Play a Bigger Game.

It comes from the positive impact you have on people in your company.

“There’s a lot of good leaders out there, but in the modern age, good means average, and average leaders have little impact,” he said.

McLean outlines four tips to go from being a good leader to a remarkable one.

“When it’s all said and done, your team will appreciate your skills and admire your desire,” he said.

“They will also remember, relate and follow you because you have an authentic identity, you are real enough to be vulnerable and you have a clear interest in elevating others through genuine feedback.”

Embrace vulnerability

We think that as a leader we need to have all the answers, and some of us have a false belief that our answers are the best. If you don’t know something, say so.

Say “I don’t know, let me think about it” or better still “I don’t know, what would you do?”. Let people in, ask for their help, expertise and support. It's alright to be trying to work things out, and if you ask for support your team will happily contribute and become more engaged in the process.

Be authentic

Remarkable leaders have a trait that’s sets them apart - they are authentic. Most leaders are trying to be the person that others want them to be. They’re looking at other successful leaders and copying or modeling their behaviour. What your team really need is for you to be real.

Know your identity

Who are you and what do you believe in? Your team want to connect with the human side of you. They understand that you know your job, and they get that you’re results driven, but do they know who you truly are?

Find a way to tell your true story: past, present and future. What do you value? What mistakes have you made? What would you do differently? What are you excited about right now and what are you struggling with?

The more genuine, the more honest, the more real you can be, the better the connection and the greater commitment to you from those that you lead.

Deliver feedback

The one thing that leaders are really terrible at is providing genuine, honest feedback. They fail to tell people how they really think they are going and they fail to do it in a timely manner.

Get into the habit of elevating others by giving them great feedback about what’s working well and what could work better. Help them grow and develop, help them get better, and help them get ahead. They will appreciate you for it.