It may be counterintuitive, but according to Barry Kaplan and Jeff Manchester — who have decades of experience as entrepreneurs and advisers to hundreds of companies — the the best way to lead is to step back. The more that you as a leader open your heart, reveal your fears and show your authentic self, the deeper the connections among your team members will be, and the more the team will achieve.
Partners at Shift180, Barry and Jeff present their unique approach to maximizing performance in their new book, The Power of Vulnerability: How to Create a Team of Leaders by Shifting Inward. I recently spoke with them after reading the book, to talk about their views on leadership culture and vulnerability.
Understand the Power of Vulnerability
Why is vulnerability misunderstood?
We are taught and then hard-wired to believe that showing vulnerability is a weakness. The fear, of course, is that if we demonstrate vulnerability, others will be able to take advantage of us. This, however, is far from the truth. The reality is that, by sharing our vulnerability, we lay the groundwork for truly connecting with others – which is incredibly powerful. We need to relearn that vulnerability is gateway to authenticity, connection and ultimately power.
When is it wrong to be vulnerable and can you be too vulnerable?
Despite the power vulnerability can bring, if you’re not in a safe environment where you can leverage its power, exhibiting vulnerability may be a mistake. Safety is a necessary predicate to being able to open up, show up and co-create trust.
In what ways can a leader create an environment of safety to allow team members to be vulnerable?
Leaders play a key role in creating this safe space, particularly by role modeling. As a leader, it is up to you to step in first. Show up with your real story that will disrupt the typical pattern of hiding behind the veil. By taking action, you are giving your team a real case-study of how — and more importantly, why — it works.