Under the Weather
I’m calling in sick today with a slight case of the flu. I’m starting to feel better already. I should be back in rhythm very soon.
I was planning a post on vulnerability today. What are your thoughts?
- What is vulnerability?
- How, when is it useful/appropriate to be vulnerable?
- What are the limits to vulnerability for leaders?
- Positive and negative impact of being vulnerable?
Note to new readers: the articles you see are almost always written the morning I post them. Because I post every weekday, I didn’t want long term readers to be concerned when I broke my daily pattern. That’s the reason for this short update.
Frankly, writing this post is an act of vulnerability for me. I don’t like looking weak.
Hope you feel better soon ☺
the problem with vulnerability is that someone is going to take advantage of that. we are humans, we have a right to be imperfect, yet, nobody wants to depend on others.
Dan pray that you feel better soon. Get some rest and in spite of have an enjoyable day! 🙂
You’re confusing the terms weak, vulnerable, and human.
As humans, we all get sick, we all make errors, we all need to take time out to deal with death, etc. There are so many things that could be grouped together as shared experiences in the human race that would impact our daily lives and those that rely on us. It is how we deal with these day to day changes in the status quo that matters.
We all have strengths and weaknesses based on our characters and our past. Finding people to compliment them is what each of us needs to do to survive. That means you have to trust enough and open your heart to others to let them see the true you and vice versa.
Not doing this would make you vulnerable. In other words, if you don’t have a plan to keep all the critical pieces in life, business, finance, etc covered, that is vulnerability.
That’s just my ramblings. I hope you feel better soon.
Vulnerability open to scrutiny or hurt from others or self inflicted.
Can be based on limited knowledge base or education pertaining to various topics.
Limited exposure or experience can leave us open to attacks.
Positive impact is learning and maturing.
Negative impact can be stressful, mentally painful, or becoming withdrawn
Hope you get well soon 🙂
Can we differentiate between vulnerability and transparency? When is it wise to do so?
Take care Dan!
Thank you for digging in every morning and posting!….You are the cream to my coffee!
What is vulnerability. Some could say it is a weakness or failure. I would assume you look at this differently and see being vulnerable as an asset or opportunity for reflection or change. I always look forward to you and your followers thoughts and experiences.
Just tell the truth!!
I do not mind appearing in any way shape or form!!! I am AWESOME!!
Used to have my mind filled with lots of useless incorrect stuff! till the Spiritual Malady was overcome!! Great to know how to change ants to ENTS!!
Once I understood I was an eachness in the allness of God what is there to be afraid of???
Get well soon!!
Showing vulnerability as a leader is empowering. It empowers others to say “I don’t know”, ” I don’t think I can deliver this”, “I don’t know if this will work”. All responses that belong in a GROWTH culture. Embrace vulnerability, be authentic and listen to the opinions of other. My 3 tips to making you feel better Dan.
When you show me your vulnerability we might bond on a different level. You become more human- more like me. Who here cannot relate to being sick and having to leave a task undone? It is not always a bad thing to show we are not superhuman! Hope you feel better. Meanwhile, sleep!
Thanks for trusting us, your readers, and relying on us. Yes, you’ve prepared us well to step up and take charge of your blog and of one another. Most of all, you’ve earned our respect and our regard so what we want to say most is: Feel better. Take care of yourself. Worry not about us. Take as much time as you need. We’ll all be here whenever you get back. And when you get back, everything will be as good as when you left it. Blessings!
Vulnerability shows you are human… you have some of the same problems I have.. That is a good thing. Means I can relate with you on a human level.
I like the metaphor “jars of clay” — we hold our shape, but at some level we’re pretty fragile. 🙂
I hope you feel better soon Dan!
The topic of vulnerability is an important one. I wrote a post on it last year titled, The Vulnerability Dilemma. I said, ‘Our willingness to be vulnerable is at the heart of our ability to give and receive love….For me, feeling vulnerable is much like a two-sided coin or a double-edged sword, depending on what angle I happen to be looking at it.’
Better yet, I’ll just go ahead an link to the post here since I actually reference you in the post and refer back to your other post on vulnerability titled, The Secret Power of Vulnerability: http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/the-secret-power-of-vulnerability/
My post: The Vulnerability Dilemma – http://tweetconnection.com/2013/05/29/the-vulnerability-dilemma/
In you vulnerability post, you asked what I felt was a very important question that I feel is at the crux of the vulnerability issue.
You asked, ‘If you reveal your real self, what’s left if it’s rejected?’
I learned that when we were the MOST vulnerable as children, we couldn’t afford to be rejected. So if the most important people in our lives couldn’t accept us as we were, or were abusive, etc. We learned to hide the most true and vulnerable parts of ourselves. We learned to wear masks. We started to don armour to shield and protect ourselves. We learned to LIE: about what we think, how we feel, what we really want and need. All because the truth of those things was not acceptable to other people.
In some cases, Not even registering an ‘ouch’ if we are hurting. As in, ‘Quit crying or I’ll give you something to REALLY cry about!’
In my own post I also quote Alice Miller who said, ‘The love I gained with such uphill effort and self-defacement was not meant for me at all but for the me I created to please them.’
Now the big thing about dilemma is this. It doesn’t stay all neat and tidy in the past called childhood. People grow up with these same masks and armours; defense mechanisms. Including passive aggressive behaviors, the extremely passive, (in many cases, the people pleasers and doormats) and the downright aggressive. (aka the workplace tyrants and bullies)
There will always be a risk with vulnerability. As I continue to explore and take risks with my own in life (I’m still alive so it has killed me yet! (grins) I’ve learned that with some people, my vulnerability helps others to be vulnerable. In a way, it helps give other people permission to try it. To take the risk themselves. Then again, there are times when my vulnerability does the opposite. It can terrify people who aren’t yet ready to BE that vulnerable. So sometimes I’m rejected when I’m vulnerable.
Sometimes an important key as an adult is this. Can I survive the risk of being rejected by ‘this’ person or group of people? If the answer is yes. I can survive it. Then I’m more likely to take the risks to be vulnerable. If the answer is no, then perhaps it’s not the right time. Or people need to become stronger and build up their courage.
As you know (at least I am under the impression that you do) Brene Brown has also done some fantastic work on the subject of vulnerability.
Anyway! Valuable topic. Hope what I shared above will be of some help. And I hope you are on the mend and will recover in full very soon!
Get well soon, Dan! We’re all vulnerable and as others have said, vulnerable is not a sign of weakness. Exposed weakness makes one more vulnerable, but understanding your weakness can help you strengthen and improve and make you less vulnerable.
Having a good team around you can help you build your strength up and become even less vulnerable. I hope you have a good team around you, serving you toast and tea, providing you with quiet and space to rest and recover. That will hopefully make you less vulnerable to a longer, lingering illness! 🙂
Hope you are soon back up and at ’em. I was blown away when I read that you write most of your posts the morning they are published! Wow! That explains why I feel ther are always so timely and relevant….
I’ll take the negative side of vulnerability since the positives are well covered.
Vulnerability can be a negative if you are allowing others to control you or tear you down. Listen to others; accept criticism and opposing ideas with honesty and openness, but don’t give another person the power to determine your self-worth or identity or mood in the long-term.
Hope you are feeling better, Dan.
As in all things, showing vulnerability in moderation can be powerful. It demonstrates that I KNOW that I don’t have all the answers and that I KNOW that I am not a perfect human being and that I need the other people with whom I live and work. Self-awareness is comforting and empowering to others.
Yes, there are down sides, and one needs to be secure in ones own identity in order to not be taken advantage of. But the people who try to take advantage of vulnerability are often not so secure and/or self-aware, and this is a good warning sign.
Thanks Dan. Even when you are down you are up. 😃
Get well Dan …. great topic — I can say this much. Vulnerability is something I can use more of. The lack of it has cost me much in my life. My thick shields, crisp shirt and perfect powerpoints have made me unapproachable to many … what’s wrong with sharing where I have made mistakes and how I feel and fear (Oh – so I don’t appear weak – yes) so people may lean in a little closer – so they feel like they can relate … Vulnerability takes more courage than anything I have ever done – try it!!
If you would like a glimpse into what the research says on vulnerability and it cousin shame you MUST see these two Ted Talks bu Brene Brown — regardless of your current state these will move you in some way — we are all human and all vulnerable and all have shame (I hope)
One way I’ve seen vulnerability (and someone’s apprehensiveness to it) in the workplace is when a manager entrusts something important to a subordinate and doesn’t stay over their shoulder. It is a risk, and makes the manager vulnerable to that person’s mistakes. However, if you can’t hand important stuff to people who work for you, you’ll end up doing it yourself and wondering why you can’t get stuff done.
Allowing yourself to be vulnerable in this manner around others, especially subordinates will go far in building trust, respect, and teamwork. However, if you never include anyone or trust them with important things, don’t be surprised that no one thinks highly of you or you find communication and team problems, etc.
Vulnerability: Exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally. I think we are all vulnerable all of the time in some way or another. On a leadership level I don’t think it makes someone look weak, but rather open. Anyway, get some rest. 🙂
I interpret vulnerability as the willingness to share and be honest about your weaknesses as you encourage others to confront and develop theirs. However vulnerability is like any other tool or “power”. There is always a time and place for it. When faced with a crisis you may not want to use that as a time to be vulnerable.
Sorry to hear you are feeling down – your immune system was vulnerable which is completely human! Hope you are feeling better in no time. If your immune system is anything like you are, there is a leader taking charge right now to get things back in order! : )
On the subject of Vulnerability –
I differ from some of the other responses in that I do equate vulnerability to a weakness. If a security system is vulnerable, there are areas that can be broken into – those are the areas of vulnerability/weakness. If the walls of the castle are weakened, the safety of the tenants inside are at risk. If we live in a glass house and there is a hail storm, we are vulnerable.
Sometimes, though,allowing weakness/vulnerability is the path that should be chosen. When it comes to love, we have to let down our walls and let someone in. We choose to be open to the chance of love while knowing there is the risk of pain.
Hope you feel better soon Dan! And as to looking weak, there’s something strong and smart about making healthy choices for one’s self!
Get better soon and don’t feel guilty for taking care of yourself. And don’t respond to this 🙂
Vulnerability helps us to be transparent with each other and to break the barriers of control in relationships.
Sorry to hear Dan, hope you get back on your feet quickly.
I had a coach who was always asking me “what are you afraid of?” when I was showing up with a cold or flu-like symptom. I later came to realize that I was letting my immune system open “holes” in order to avoid something I was resisting. Curious about that realization I did some more digging/reading and came across medical studies concluding that about 95% of the diseases we developed are psychosomatic (the mind controls the immune system with incredible level of precision).
Maybe my coach would have asked “Dan, what are you afraid of?”. Maybe the lack of vulnerability leads to some form of avoidance which takes the form of body sickness (thanks to our mind playing with our immune system).
Disclaimer: just thoughts for food… not claiming any truth here 🙂
Hope you get/feel better soon. In the meantime celebrate a good reason to take a day off – guilt free 🙂
Seems you have been Vulnerable to what lurks out there. Hope you don’t feel guilty, if you are STOP just relax and get better.✿¸¸.•*•´¯`✿
it is a bit like being honest, do you dare be honest – as a leader it allows the people to step up for you.
Many in IT work long hours, and for a long time I worked sixty hour weeks minimum. Later someone commented it made it hard for my team to ask for time off. I was suprised, because I always encouraged them to take time and comp time when necessary. He said because I never used it the team felt bad about using it. That surprised me, and I changed my hours somewhat from it.
Hoping you feel better soon.
Funny, just going through the same experience as you, sick at home. And yes I fill vulnerable too.
I think vulnerability is just show yourself to others as your are, without filters or protections.
It takes courage and smartness.
If you aren’t smart enough you can end practicing it with the wrong people…
Take drugs, lie down, heal … the world’s a better place with your challenges in it ! 🙂
I think in leadership vulnerability is necessary and vital. If we model vulnerability it makes those we lead relate to us on a human level rather than elevating us to status that we can never uphold. It also makes it acceptable for those we lead to be vulnerable which speeds up the process of conflict resolution and team issue troubleshooting. This doesn’t mean we lay everything on the table or expose others in our vulnerability but it does mean that we invite others deeper into our lives and consequently others will begin inviting us deeper into theirs. This is where community starts.
Feel better! Sending you tons of healthy and positive thoughts.
Every day, I arrive at my desk here in Australia looking forward to reading your next post Dan. Your thoughts and discussion points both uplift and challenge me in my leadership role at work and also in my personal life. By taking care of yourself, you are demonstrating you are strong and respect your own needs!
Just thought I would add a comment as well.
I have always seen vulnerability as a sign of strength. It takes a strong sense of self to allow yourself to be vulnerable and seen as such.
Being vulnerable also does not mean that you are not competent. People who try to take advantage of vulnerability in someone; that is a reflection on them.
Hope you feel better soon.
I hope you feel better soon, Dan! Take care of yourself.
Our best work happens in the right kind of vulnerability. We connect better, we listen better, we don’t trip over our own ego as much. Vulnerability doesn’t have to mean we’re uncertain of success, only that we’re not stuck on one particular solution. When we’re truly sensitive to others we build more teamwork and trust.
I am exceedingly curious to hear what you have to say about how much vulnerability leaders should have and when/to whom that would be appropriate. This particular question has burned me pretty badly at past jobs and continues to plague me still. I haven’t discovered a good answer yet, but I’ve tried many options. I look forward to help with this issue and I’m excited to hear what everyone has to say!
Thanks arynblase. I write on vulnerability from time to time. Here’s a quick response to a limit of vulnerability. Don’t use vulnerability as a culture changing tool unless you are at the top of an organization. In other words, test the waters of vulnerability carefully. Learn who you can trust. What have your experiences taught you?
Sadly, my experiences so far have taught me not to trust my managers or co-workers. I LOVE getting real with people and seeing their heart. I love discovering what lights their fire and wakes them up in the morning. Thus far, it seems to me that that scares people and makes them insecure, so much so that they tear me down using my own vulnerability or they take away my opportunities to lead because I’m too outspoken. This confuses me a LOT and I’m curious how I can grow without scaring people. Thoughts?