Leadership requires many qualities, but there is one that will make a good leader become a great leader especially during a crisis like the Covid-19 crisis.
The secret to becoming a great leader is vulnerability. We hear a lot about authenticity as an essential quality for any good leader. But authenticity comes with a significant challenge: that of knowing how to be vulnerable.
Why is it a challenge to be vulnerable? Vulnerability requires a lot of courage to let your guard down, admit your mistakes, express your doubts, expose your shortcomings, and ask for help, especially when you are leading a group of people.
According to Brene Brown, a researcher on vulnerability, Vulnerability is:
“Having the courage to come forward and be seen when you know there are no guarantees”.
Vulnerability is about walking a fine line and being able to maintain balance through great self-knowledge and confidence.
It requires a healthy dose of self-esteem to be able to show yourself as you are while remaining convinced of your worth, and not sink into doubt and uncertainty when facing a challenge.
Check out her Tedx talk ‘The power of vulnerability’ here:
Vulnerability is a necessary strength in leadership.
Since authenticity is the basis of all human relationships, it is essential to replace distance and coldness, often characteristic of professional relationships, with openness and transparency.
You are vulnerable when you are accessible and transparent. You may believe that a good leader needs to keep a certain distance from his or her team and project an image of authority at all times.
However, adopting such an attitude to gain respect often has the opposite consequence. Who wants to follow someone who seems cold and inaccessible? Authentic and transparent leaders establish genuine relationships with their teams and their company as a whole and reap more positive and constructive behaviors others.
Don’t be afraid to share your doubts and fears, that only makes you human. Doubts and fears are part of everyones daily life, even the best leaders. Express them with a point of being transparent to obtain the support of others; instead, it will create empathy in your entourage. Authenticity will naturally strengthen the bonds with others. And lastly, don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes.
Taking responsibility for your own mistakes, rather than making excuses or blaming others, is about integrity; An inspiring and unifying trait. By doing so, others will know that they too can dare to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from their failures.
Tony de Bree