Why Strong Leaders Must Ring the Vulnerable Bell


Being vulnerable seems like being extremely exposed, weak, and rather stupid.

So from very early in life, we erect barricades to prevent being that threatened. We follow the crowds and become some version of the aloof, got-my-stuff-together, winning-at-life professional.

But the barricades have a nasty side effect. They shut out what every single one of us wants most: connection with others, happiness, freedom, and growth. The barricades give us a false sense of safety. And what seems like strength is only isolation.

From behind the barricades, we leaders may be able to determine, organize, decide, excite, incite, manage, and direct. But remember: all those people working with us also crave that connection, happiness, freedom, and growth. They can’t get any of that if we are behind the barricades. And the organization will sooner or later falter or fail. The best people will leave, the good people will struggle, and the lackluster ones will remain to preserve the status quo.

It turns out that vulnerability is a strength, especially for leaders like us. We can open up. We can allow ourselves to be wrong, faulty, hurt, foolish, or even goofy. We can do the really hard work of feeling, working through, and resolving the emotions, reactions, and assumptions we and others have. Left untouched, these fuel the discord, detachment, and politics in our companies. This really hard work creates connection, happiness, freedom and growth for us and everyone.

See why we as leaders need to go here, be this, and ring this bell?


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: Glenn Euloth cc

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