I have been fortunate enough from an early age to be in leadership positions, be it coaching sporting teams, leading staff or as is most recently the case CEO of SiDCOR Chartered Accountants and Yogurtland Australia. I have always viewed leadership as different from management. Management you can teach, you can learn the techniques, read the books and apply the theory. Leadership however comes from within, it’s a willingness to be authentic, trust yourself and those you lead. It doesn’t matter about position or title, leadership is about influence and connection.
I was looking at possible MBA courses online earlier this week when I came across a Masters in Leadership. I was fascinated to look into what type of subject such a course would offer and was left a little disappointed when I found topics such as leadership theory, change management, communication styles and the like.
I thought to myself what would I come up with then if I was advising on what subject to include in their leadership course, and what I came up with was a course in vulnerability.
Vulnerability is the feeling you get when you are willing to put yourself out there without knowing the response. Whether it’s writing this article, presenting to a group of people or having that crucial conversation where you are praising a staff member, supporting a friend or making a touch decision that impacts someone’s career and life; it all takes courage and will lead to feelings of vulnerability.
Your willingness to embrace vulnerability will have a direct impact on your ability as a leader. It’s not comfortable, it’s not meant to be, but avoiding that uncomfortableness, in some circumstances terror, you will also avoid the feeling of joy, and you won’t get to experience the reward.
We all have a need to feel connected to others, and we all have a need to be loved. Countering this is a fear that if people knew certain things about us, that they will think we are not enough, or not worthy of love. To embrace vulnerability is to embrace our authentic selves, be willing to lead and love first without expectation of what we will get in return. To lead others you must first lead yourself, treat yourself with kindness and your treatment of others will follow suit. Taking the steps to be authentically you and embrace vulnerability will make you a true leader, and will change your life in the process.