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The Most Neglected and Misunderstood Tool of Leadership

Your most powerful tool of influence isn’t a strategy or technique. It’s a person.

Your most powerful tool of influence is you.

Brene’ Brown, author of, Daring Greatly, writes, “We must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen.”

Hiding behind position, title, and image weakens influence and dilutes relationships.

You don’t have to put your worst foot forward, but “best-foot leaders” give false impressions and create unrealistic expectations.

Frailty and failure:

Why hide the shaping influences on your life?

Begin your next team meeting by asking everyone to complete this sentence. “One of the things I learned from failure is….” (Answer it yourself, first.)

Healthy vulnerability strengthens connection and amplifies influence.

Advantages of letting yourself be seen:

#1. Growth. You grow and others develop when people see the real you.

Life’s most powerful lessons come to us through the vulnerability of others.

#2. Charm. Forward-facing vulnerability invites people to connect.

#3. Validation. Vulnerability is permission for others to be human.

#4. Challenge. Challenging yourself makes challenging others authentic.

#5. Humility. You develop humility when you take off your fake face and lead with your real foot.

#6. Confidence. People feel less like idiots when you share what you learned from screwing up.

#7. Friendship. You develop relationships with the “right” people when you let people see the real you.

7 ways to let yourself be seen:

  1. Declare beliefs.
  2. Share values and intentions.
  3. Expose motivations.
  4. Tell your story. (Life Story Exercise)
  5. Reveal lessons from mistakes.
  6. Discuss learnings. Say, “I hadn’t thought of that,” instead of pretending you knew all along.
  7. Share influences. What are you reading? Who are your mentors, coaches, and teachers?

Tip: Novices – with a growth mindset – exert powerful influence when they let themselves be seen.

The most neglected and misunderstood tool of leadership is letting yourself be seen.

What is healthy transparency and vulnerability? Unhealthy?

What have you learned from screwing up?

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