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Leaders: Open Up the Kimono-Clarity #42

Alan Andersen

Vulnerability is absolutely necessary for you to be a successful leader. People want to follow someone who is open and, well, human. A common trap leaders can fall into is being transparent without truly vulnerable. Transparency is not the same as vulnerability. Bullet-proof glass is transparent, but vulnerability at its core means “open to attack.” Leaders who are vulnerable are willing to risk first. They know they do not have all the answers and are not the smartest person in the room. They ask good questions because they are willing to be shown wrong – and that is why people trust them. Picture opening up the kimono, if you will, and risking getting punched in the gut. That’s the visual of vulnerability. Trust is your team not only not making the hit, but also stepping in front of you and protecting you from other attacks. Trust is also stepping behind you to ensure no one stabs you in the back. Trust is walking beside you when you need someone to lean on. But we only trust people who are truly open with us, don’t we? It starts with you.

You Have to Go First

I am often asked the “how to’s” in building high performing teams. My answer is “it starts with you.” You have to be willing to go first in admitting mistakes, taking ownership,and risking being known for who you really are. If you want people to trust you, you have to trust yourself and you can’t trust yourself until you are honest with yourself. Honest in every way. Vulnerable with yourself, with others, with your forum mates, with your therapist, with God. Yet, I believe we can get so conditioned to our own “story” that we stop trying to find our true self, our vulnerable self and thus our leadership is always handicapped.

Dismiss Hindering Beliefs

People will follow someone they trust and you can be that person. However, look around you and see where you have stopped being vulnerable, stopped asking for help, stopped trying to live your purpose. You have settled for less because you are afraid of all that is. I challenge you to dismiss your hindering belief systems today and invite a new standard of vulnerability to take its place. There is someone who wants to be the best you, to help you fulfill your purpose, to lead you to greatness. Will you let those around you help you today? Will you be vulnerable enough to ask for help? Why not you and why not now?

Your Coach,

This article previously appeared at True Life Coaching, a subsidiary of Shandel Group. If you enjoyed this post, read Shandel's book, Clarity: Focusing on What Matters.

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