Great Leaders Show Vulnerability: Why it is a Leadership Strength!

Trust is the foundation of all our relationships – whether in our personal or work life. Trust allows connection and creates the right environment for open and honest communication.

Closely linked with vulnerability, vulnerability is associated with building trust. It demonstrates that we are, in fact, human which allows others to connect with and support us. 

You can’t have trust without vulnerability. 

Trust and vulnerability are not opposites. They are vital leadership characteristics and it’s critical that you embody both as they work together to forge strong, mutually beneficial relationships that empower and support everyone. 

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”

Brene Brown

As a leader, should I be vulnerable? 

The short answer is yes. Always. 

The relationships we have with our teams, our direct reports, and our colleagues are what define you as a leader. A great leader fosters strong, open relationships built on mutual trust and respect and are all led with the same three pillars. 

  • Trust: We give and build trust 
  • Commitment: We are committed to each other’s success and the relationship
  • Care: We care for them, and they care for us 

Being vulnerable at work means you are opening the door to building connections with people. You are allowing them to see the real you, for all your flaws and insecurities. 

As a leader, your initial response might be to retreat inwards when things get difficult and avoid showing a ‘weakness’, worried your team may think less of your ability to lead them. 

The opposite is true. 

It’s these connections that lead to trust between people which, as we know, is the foundation for a great relationship. 

How can you start being vulnerable? 

It’s as simple as showing exactly how you feel. 

  • You may have made a mistake and you’re feeling deflated, share that and own it. 
  • You could be really tired because you’ve got sick kids at home and you’re trying to do it all.
  • You might just need a holiday to rest and recharge. 

Whatever you’re feeling, own it and say exactly what you’re experiencing. 

We know that this can be a really challenging exercise, so to help you, here are some useful resources that we love here at Corporate Edge that will help you on your journey to becoming more vulnerable and fostering great relationships. 


More Resources

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