Leveraging Vulnerability to Enable Alignment

Posted on October 26, 2016

We are neurobiologically wired with the ability to feel connected. Connectedness serves as one of the fundamental reasons as to why we as a species have continued to survive and evolve together. This is important to keep in mind when considering that the uncertainty of today’s changing market demands means that leaders cannot control and predict the journey ahead of their organisation as well as they used to. This can leave leaders feeling vulnerable.

How can vulnerability become a positive and dynamic quality of inspirational leadership?
Massively-popular research professor Dr. Brené Brown explains that vulnerability is about:

Courage: the courage to be imperfect.
Compassion: towards self and other.
Connection: specifically, a quality of connection which results from authenticity.  

Vulnerability may therefore be a powerful tool with which to authentically cultivate alignment in organisations. Here’s why…

When we embrace vulnerability we open ourselves up to experiencing and bringing fresh energy to connectedness:

  1. Connectedness to the ambiguities of a challenging situation.
  2. Connectedness to our own and one another’s stories, experiences, goals and values.
  3. Connectedness to possibilities and potentials outside of a journey we have crafted thus far.

When we leverage the vulnerability sparked by uncertainty we transform it into a leadership tool- courageously holding space for ourselves and our team members to say: “the path ahead is uncertain, let’s discover the next steps together.” This openness can inspire people to bring their authentic selves forward and engage freshly in the connection between their own journey, the team’s journey and the organisation’s journey.

This is a brave, explorative commitment! But one which ultimately inspires collective engagement and can foster alignment. Leaders may then feel empowered to steer the energy of their team through unchartered territories and towards new possibilities, having gleaned insights of where the organisation and it’s people seek to evolve together.

It may be useful to take a minute’s pause now and ask yourself the following two questions:

  • How do you currently relate to your own vulnerability?
  • Can you recall a situation where embracing you own or another’s vulnerability sparked authentic connection?

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