Vulnerability: Take Your Real Self to Work

May 19, 2016
May 19, 2016 Amy Burns

What’s the most important aspect of yourself  that reflects your ability to lead?

Think about that for a moment. Sure there’s books that talk about a strategic mindset or having vision, bit for me, that’s not it. For me, it’s about showing the world who you really are: not the image you’ve cultivated or the face you want people to see. Leadership starts with the real you and that takes a willingness to be vulnerable.

You, Really

That isn’t a new concept. Take a look at the views Brené Brown’s TEDx talk is getting (over 25 million) and you’ll see what I mean.  So yes, it’s popular but is it happening? Are leaders being vulnerable? Take a look at your workplace, do you see vulnerability there? If it’s in short supply there’s a simple reason: being vulnerable is hard. Being vulnerable at work is harder still.

How to make that easier? One step is realising vulnerability happens in relation to other people. It’s a game of sorts where you get to try out your level of vulnerability in relation to other people. That may sound like it’s all on you to be vulnerable. But the amazing thing about being willing to go against the grain is that it gives other people permission to do the exact same thing. Do that enough and it’s only a matter of time before critical mass is on your side.

Human Over ‘Professional’

Last week was Mental Health Awareness week in Canada. This week it’s the UK’s turn. One of the Mental Health Foundation’s key recommendations for improving our mental health is to switch out of work mode when you’re with friends and family.

But what about if we took that further? What about if you switched out of work mode at work? What if you switched into human mode at work? What if you choose to be present and real with the people you spend most of your waking hours with: your work colleagues?

Maybe if we could be vulnerable humans at work our leadership ability might improve alongside our mental health.

Post updated May 19, 2016.

 

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