How to Bare Your Neck Like a Leader
People build walls of self-protection because they are afraid.
“… if you are humble, if you make people realize that you are no threat to them, then they will embrace you.” Nelson Mandela
Vulnerability takes courage.
Insecurity motivates wall-building. People watch for indications that it’s safe to lower their guard.
Self-protective walls keep leaders at arm’s length because leaders have authority and power. You impact the future of the people around you.
7 ways to bare your neck:
Others won’t bare their necks until leaders expose theirs.
Bare your neck first.
Pat Lencioni said, “I don’t believe a leader can be too vulnerable.”
- Tell stories of how you learned from mistakes.
- Laugh at yourself. Chest thumping lets others know you’re not safe.
- Ask for what you really want. Any leader who can’t say what they really want won’t get what they really need.
- I want our team to trust each other.
- I want you to enjoy work.
- I want you to love coming to work.
- I want to lead well.
- Give second and third chances.
- Share what you’re learning. Don’t pretend you know more than you know.
- Stand with team members when they screw up.
- Shine the spotlight on others – ALL THE TIME.
People won’t go out on a limb that you haven’t already been on. For example, if you want others to expose their weaknesses and grow, go first.
Empathy enables vulnerability.
Work to understand and respect team members.
- Show interest in others. Know the stories of your team members.
- Get excited when others are excited.
- Honor simple accomplishments. People aren’t looking for you to out-do them when they tell you what they’ve accomplished.
- Make “You must feel” statements.
- This must be frustrating…
- You must feel concerned…
- You seem excited…
“What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.” Brene’ Brown
How might leaders develop their ability to be vulnerable?
How might leaders create environments and relationships that make it safe to be vulnerable?
“…if you make people realize that you are no threat to them, then they will embrace you.” Or they will treat you as an easy target / prey.
I guess that’s why they call it vulnerability. However, if you have evidence that someone is untrustworthy and you bear your neck, you’re just stupid.
But someone has to go first. If we choose to view the world as an enemy, we can’t help but build walls.
The other warning that seems to make sense is to practice vulnerability incrementally.
I often remind myself, “Empathy and Boundaries.” “Vulnerability and Boundaries” works just as well. Part of the courage of vulnerability, I’m learning, is waiting until I am actually starting to be taken advantage of before presenting the boundaries, rather than doing so pre-emptively, which has been my habit for too long.
good to know, if we do follow this rules it could change our daily life.
that’s true, himal
It’s so easy to see why this type of leadership would lead to great loyalty and staff working to be their best because they’re surrounded by a leader who knows them well enough to help them be their best and to succeed. A leader who simply demands results, but has no intimate knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of their team — tends to look for replacements vs. transformations. Obviously it’s a two-way street — staff need to give it their all too — but you can see when a team respects their leader, is not afraid to voice a different opinion, and is willing to go the extra mile because their leader will do all he/she can to make them and the business succeed. Nothing is better than liking your team and reaching your goals. To do that successfully, you need a leader who can be both strong and vulnerable.
I think you can show vulnerability the more you interact with your team. If you stay in your office all day or at meetings all day or you send emails from afar…. it is hard to build relationships. It is all about relationships…
Your specification of vulnerability in a leader context are great. I have found Brené Brown’s TED talks on this amazing and convicting. One of her points is to love with your whole heart. I think that can be cross applied here to “lead with your whole heart.” Your guidance above certainly point to that.