Vulnerability: the new leadership essential

Vulnerability isn’t a negative trait. It’s accepting that you can’t control everything. This doesn’t mean giving up. It means understanding when to ask for help. Accepting your vulnerability could make you a better leader. Vulnerability is essential for taking risks without a guarantee of success. In fact, many successful executives embrace their vulnerability.

The idea that leaders can’t be vulnerable is a myth. It’s rooted in the idea that leaders need to be able to solve anything, which is impossible. This means that almost every action involves risk. Without vulnerability, you wouldn’t be able to take risks.

A recent article on BetterUp helps summarise the importance of vulnerability for resiliency and mental stamina. The article interviews several high-achieving professionals, including a former executive from Netflix. In the interview, one executive lists vulnerability as an important trait. They explain that it helps you pursue new ideas even when you may not succeed. You need resilience and courage to take risks that leave you vulnerable.

The executive claimed that vulnerability led to greater support from co-workers. She openly discussed her concerns about being a new mother and taking on a promotion. Sharing her emotions with her co-workers didn’t lead to a loss of respect. Her co-workers supported her. Their support helped give her the confidence needed to succeed in a new role.


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Along with vulnerability, the executives interviewed for the article list curiosity as an important trait. They explain that curiosity allows them to explore innovative solutions. It also helps them be more effective leaders by listening to others. When a leader actively listens, workers feel valued. This builds trust and collaboration. It also creates the type of environment needed to allow leaders to be more vulnerable. You can read the entire article on the power of embracing vulnerability here.

Vulnerability is an essential trait, but how do you apply this to your life and career? Accepting your vulnerability requires you to be open and honest with yourself and others. Unfortunately, leaders often feel the need to shut themselves off from others and hide their emotions. You may fear being considered an imposter. Positive psychology practices, such as NLP, can help you accept and control your emotions.

You can gain the confidence needed to take risks. For many people, fear is the main emotion keeping them from taking risks. People often make the mistake of trying to push fear away. You need to recognise your fears and anxieties and replace them with a more positive perspective. Cognitive reframing is one NLP method that can help. Reframing is the practice of seeing things from a different perspective. We call this a different frame. It helps you change focus and see things more realistically.

The article on BetterUp proposes that vulnerability is a critical trait for leaders. I agree. As an NLP practitioner and confidence coach, I know that putting yourself out there leads to more opportunities. NLP can give you the confidence to take risks. View my one-to-one coaching services and online courses at