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The Wisdom of Vulnerability In Leadership

As SWC continues to explore the concept of leadership and what the word really means for each of us, the idea of vulnerability keeps coming up.

Author Brené Brown writes that care and connection are absolute requirements for “wholehearted, productive relationships.” Ultimately, having the courage to build authentic connections with team members encourages them to bring their whole selves to work, she explains.

That means exercising empathy when someone on the team admits they are struggling, despite the discomfort of having vulnerable conversations. It also means reframing the narrative when someone disappoints or frustrates you, by considering, perhaps “that person is doing the best they can.”

I like to take these ideas and expand them out of the workplace into all other areas of life--family, friends, and every other place where connection is important to us.

This article has some key takeaways from Brown’s work that you can use anywhere in your life - just keep an open mind as to who your “team” members are and what your “organization” is!

Summarizing some of the key ideas:

Acknowledgement and appreciation are gateways for connection. Always recognize team members for the unique skills and talents they bring to the organization, focusing on their specific contributions to the team’s successes. And don’t be afraid to celebrate achievements, both big and small, with your team.

Next time you make a request, explain the format of the deliverable, the deadline, and how the task fits into an overall strategy. And if you’re on the other side of the request, ask, “What does ‘done’ look like?

When someone on your team provides constructive criticism or points out one of your weaknesses, let it sink in. Be curious instead of shutting down. Confront the difficult conversation about how your behavior hinders the team and how you can do better.

I encourage you to join us as we explore leadership and how vulnerability fits in during our upcoming “Be The CEO Of Your Life” event, part of our on-going MasterMind Mondays series. We can’t wait to welcome you!

With love and light,


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