It's a Delicate Balance

Thursday, May 2, 2013

For the past year, I’ve been involved in a leadership development program with a client. My role is to provide group and individual coaching to emerging leaders as they progress through a week of leadership development. Over the past year, I have seen the same keynote speaker and same “master of ceremonies” at each session of the weeklong program; yet, have never received such positive feedback about them from program participants as during last week’s program. Why? The common thread was vulnerability.

For the first time, each shared personal pieces of information about their lives that they had never shared before. One shared a story about a recent family struggle and the other simply shared photos of her family and newly adopted baby during her kickoff presentation. These were two things neither individual had done before which created a large and positive impact on the group. Why? Because it made each of them “real” people. They were not the “keynote speaker who has authored 8 books” or the “company director” but two people who have real life struggles and joys just like everyone else. Their vulnerability created a connection with all the people in the room, and ultimately that’s what good leaders do – connect with others. Yes, it can be a delicate balance of how much and what type of information you share but it’s definitely possible to get the right mix of information to create the best impact.

I’ve written many blog posts in the past about being authentic and how authenticity creates connections with others. Being vulnerable is another aspect of being authentic. I encourage you all to share small pieces of yourselves (your true selves that struggle and feel joy), with those you lead and teach. They more those people can relate to you, the greater your connection and ability to positively influence their lives.

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