Leadership Development: Vulnerability Redefined


by on Feb 27, 2020 1:34 PM

Practicing Vulnerability in Leadership

Recently I read Brene Brown’s 2019 book, Dare To Lead. For years, she has done fascinating research on vulnerability. Her universal message is that vulnerability is actually a strength not a weakness as some, like me, would tend to think.

As the leader of a business and a man in his 50’s, vulnerability was not a quality that I felt comfortable admitting, to let alone expressing. For me, I’ve always wanted to be the strong one which meant having all of the answers, armoring up (Brene Brown’s words) and being known for giving, not receiving. This notion was so pervasive for me that my team would sometimes joke that I was in “Mr. Fix It” mode when an issue came up. In these instances, before my team even finished their words, I would jump right into the issue, take it head on as if it were my responsibility and start to problem solve. That was how I portrayed being a strong, effective leader.

Then I read the book.

Needless to say, I’ve recognized that my need for control (a common trait among entrepreneurs) was masking my inability to be vulnerable with my team. I also realized that I needed to define what vulnerability meant to me. After some soul searching, I recognized my actions were counter to what was good for me, my team and my business. It feels awkward at times but now I try to admit when I don’t know an answer, allow my team to brainstorm and accept solutions given to me. What do I also get in return for practicing vulnerability? A team that respects my leadership style!

Leaning into vulnerability takes courage. If you’d like to redefine vulnerability for yourself, ruminate on these questions:

  • What does being vulnerable mean to me?
  • What does practicing vulnerability look like?
  • What would be the positive effects on my _______? (Fill in the blank – team, peers, family, etc.)

If you’re interested in exploring your leadership style or developing brave leaders in your organization, contact Trilogy Partners to learn how we can help: https://gettrilogypartners.com/contact/


About Hal Levenson

Hal Levenson is the Founder and Chief Visionary Officer at Trilogy Partners. Trilogy Partners is an advisory & implementation firm whose mission is to help companies grow and transform.  We accomplish this by focusing on 3 critical business areas: Financial, Strategy & People.