One Surprising Characteristic Can Help You Be A Highly Effective Leader

One Surprising Characteristic Can Help You Be A Highly Effective Leader


Many business people learned in school and through years on the job that showing vulnerability is a weakness they should avoid at all costs. This is especially true of those in leadership and management positions. The assumption exists that co-workers and subordinates won’t respect a person who has shown vulnerability. According to a recent article published in the online version of Entrepreneur Magazine, this simply isn’t true. Vulnerability can be an effective management tool when used correctly.

What Does Vulnerability at Work Look Like?

Everyone has experienced an emotional wound at some point in their life, including those who lead and manage others. However, this emotional pain doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can help business leaders make genuine connections with others as well as help them learn to be an even better leader. Vulnerability at work means that a supervisor or manager admits when he or she doesn’t have all the answers, takes responsibility for the error or lack of knowledge, and requests help from others to move forward.

The Negative Effects of Trying to Hide Vulnerability

Constantly working to hide vulnerabilities from others can be physically and emotionally exhausting. The person trying to keep them hidden becomes defensive, blames others for his or her own mistakes, and attempts to make others feel so guilty that they take no action at all. This unhealthy environment is no way to work because it blocks creativity and trust.

On the other hand, a leader strong enough to admit he or she was wrong or simply doesn’t know the answer creates a human connection with others in the team. Whether they like to admit it or not, everyone can identify with feeling this way. It also creates a collaborative rather than dictatorial working environment.

Practical Tips for Displaying Vulnerability at Work

Showing a vulnerable side doesn’t mean that leaders have to share their deepest secrets with those they manage. It simply means letting go of ego long enough to seek the perspective of other team members and not pretend to have all the answers. It takes a firm commitment for business leaders to change their mindset from one of never showing weakness to one that asks for accountability and displays transparency.

Learn to Listen and Let Others Share

Business leaders need to remind themselves that the input of others is just as valuable as their own. Asking questions and then sitting back and truly listening to the answers is a skill that takes time to develop. By not jumping in with an immediate solution, it sends the message to employees that their superiors trust them to come up with a viable solution. It also lets employees know that it’s okay for them to be vulnerable as well. This only helps to fuel deeper trust, problem-solving ability, and innovation among team members.

Do you want to be more vulnerable as a small business leader but you’re not sure how? We’re here to help. At Business Partner Alliance, we provide targeted coaching, consulting and business advisory services to help small and medium sized business owners achieve new heights. We put our passion and experience to work to help business people achieve their goals. Let’s meet for coffee to see how we can work together.