Masking weakness keeps people at arms length. Leaders who pretend they do all things well have shallow connections.
I’m put off by insecure braggarts. Leaders without frailties are fakers. But…
Frailties are channels of connection.
I notice how people connect with vulnerability after presentations I give on Social Media. Every country in the world has Leadership Freak readers, EXCEPT, Svalbard, Turkmenistan, Central Africa Republic, and South Sudan.
Participants look at the map (above) and see global reach. I look at the map and see four countries that haven’t been reached. The map illustrates the magnetism of negative thoughts. I can’t take my eyes off those countries.
Someone usually approaches me, after these presentations to say, I think I can help you with Central Africa. I know someone who travels there.
People are drawn to me through my lack. We enjoy meeting a need. Leaders who never reveal need, have weaker connections than those who do.
Competency is a powerful connection point. But, vulnerability and frailty create influential human connection.
Connecting through frailties:
- Include thankfulness. “I’m thankful Leadership Freak enjoys global reach.” That helps people know I’m not just a whiner.
- Include optimism. “Someday, with hard work, every country in the world will have Leadership Freak readers.” When you share frailties, share your hopes, too. If you’re concerned about meeting the numbers, say so. But, move beyond concern to aspiration.
- Complaining isn’t a virtue. When I tell audiences that all I see are four countries without readership, it’s to point out something I struggle with, not to affirm negativity.
- Don’t share personal vulnerabilities that implicate others.
- Share weaknesses when they create connection points, not to invite sympathy. Establish a “we’re in this together” environment.
Added resource: “The Hidden Power of Weakness” (written three weeks after my nearly fatal accident)
How can leaders share weakness, frustration, or vulnerability in ways that establish connection?