The title of leader comes with quite a few assumptions. We assume that our leaders are smart, qualified, strong, powerful, and all knowing. These assumptions impose a way of being that leaves little room for someone in a leadership role to simply be human. What comes to mind are the attributes we, as children, assigned to our classroom teachers, until the day we ran into them at the grocery store with our parents. All of a sudden, they were just like us. The demonstration of vulnerability by leaders does the same thing. It makes them just like us. It is that reliability which fosters trust, loyalty, and commitment.
As a leader there are a few simple things you can do to demonstrate and role model vulnerability:
1. Own your mistakes. Take responsibility, apologize, and make amends for mistakes. This is an essential aspect of leadership credibility.
2. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Use your sense of humor to keep things in perspective and reduce the intensity of stressful situations.
3 Share your journey, successes and challenges. Speak to the things that have influenced your perspective and shaped who you are. This creates common ground and makes you an approachable leader.
4. Ask for help and allow others to help you. Be the kind of leader who is comfortable enough to admit when you don’t know something, can’t do something, or simply need help making something happen. This is a sign of strength and an opportunity to empower others in an authentic way.