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Are you vulnerable?


Considering what most in business have been through over the past 12 months, this is a legitimate question.

Probably the two extended questions are:

  • Are you vulnerable to CIOVID 19 – which is asking if you have a health condition that will make getting the coronavirus a serious health risk?
  • Are you vulnerable to the economic downturn – which is asking if you can withstand a slowdown in business, or are not available for any of the economic government incentives?

For today, however, I’m thinking of vulnerability on a larger scale.  The fuller question is:

  • Are you prepared to show your vulnerability to those you work with, allowing you to leverage this perceived weakness to build genuine relationships, drive more incredible innovation, and promote learning, both educational and emotional, in your business?

Why Vulnerability

Being connected to our vulnerability is vital in this new work environment where we must figure out how to negotiate the race, gender, sexuality, and class issues as they are being presented.

To further clarify, vulnerability isn’t about letting all the personal facets of ourselves show.

It’s not about exposing our deepest and darkest fears.  It is about business leaders and entrepreneurs creating a culture where discomfort is synonymous with moving in the right direction.  Heading in the right direction is when we as a business challenge each other and mature in our emotional intelligence.

Many of us need to change our work culture, and being vulnerable will show we are willing to take risks, and that will incentivize our team also to take risks.  And in today’s work culure, these risks are not just about projects but are about people, about speaking up, and about trying new ways of thinking.

How to be Vulnerable

  1. Ask how you can help?

Genuine connections are formed when you are open about your experiences. The emphasis is on you. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and actually help.

  1. Take off the armor.

Being vulnerable at work means you are ready to put aside any pretenses and check your ego at the door. A vulnerable leader is comfortable with not having all the answers, engages perspectives and thoughts of their people, and does not have to be the first with an idea or the first one to answer.

  1. Creating a vulnerability mind shift.

Start to see the aspirations of the business through the eyes of the people you lead. As you step back and allow others to take the driver’s seat of conversations, your people will feel more connected, invested, and a deep sense of commitment to the shared vision of the organization.

  1. Check your ego at the door.

Leaders need to occasionally stop driving the conversation, painting the vision, or developing the ideas to execute. Sometimes they need just to sit and listen.

The Bible

John 21 contains the story of when Jesus appeared to the disciples by the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus was crucified and buried.  After three days, His tomb was found empty, and, in their confusion, the disciples went back to their previous life—mainly fishing.

During this encounter, Jesus asks Peter, the same one whom He earlier said would be the foundation of the church, three times if he loved Him.  This is the same number of times Peter denied knowing Jesus during Jesus’s trial.

Peter failed.  And Jesus showed him grace, compassion, and forgiveness.  Jesus showed His vulnerability

Business leaders of today need to be more compassionate and empathetic.  We need to show we are vulnerable, which demonstrates to our people that we care for them, are willing to listen to them, and that we are here to help one another.

Use your vulnerability to drive your business, and let Christ’s vulnerability drive you.