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The Secret Power of Vulnerability


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The power of  vulnerability is lost
when you don’t dare or don’t know how.

Bill Treasurer, author of, “Leaders Open Doors,” said, “I used to drink too much. Way too much. … Three years after getting sober … I decided to reveal to my boss, a partner at Accenture, that I was in recovery. …

I didn’t expect my boss to pat me on my shoulder and say, ‘Good for you; you’re a drunk!’ I expected more of a reaction than I got.

After I told him that I was in recovery, my boss looked at me quizzically, and muttered, ‘I see.’ Then he made some small-talk and hurried to another meeting.”

“I regretted having told him…”

If you reveal your real self, what’s left if it’s rejected?

Selective vulnerability:

  1. Not all the time with everyone. “I gotta be me,” is self-centered, weak, and self-indulgent.
  2. Not everything. No one wants to hear it all.
  3. Not helpful. Before vulnerability ask, “Is this helpful.”
  4. Not only weaknesses. Vulnerability includes telling your personal story.

Another story:

Bill told me another story. He was scheduled to spend two hours riding alone with a tightly wound, military style boss. He said, “I wasn’t looking forward to it.”

Surprisingly, the boss turned the radio to a rock station where Creedence Clear Water Revival was playing. After that, “My boss told me stories of when he fought in Vietnam.” After hearing his stories, Bill said, I judged him less and respected him more.

Vulnerability builds connections.

 Back to recovery:

Two weeks after telling his boss he was in recovery something amazing happened. Bill’s boss was on the board of the Georgia Council of Substance Abuse and Accenture had volunteered to do a research project. The boss asked Bill to lead the team. “It was the first time as a new manager that I got to lead my own project team.”

Vulnerability creates opportunities.


Read, “Leaders Open Doors.” It’s about WAY more than vulnerability.

What are the dangers and opportunities of vulnerable leadership?

What principles guide vulnerability?



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