Why Being Vulnerable is Important as a Leader


Showing vulnerability as a leader is not a sign of weakness. It shows strength. Leaders who act like they are bulletproof may have position power but they have little influence to affect real change in the long run. A leader who is honest about their shortcomings and opportunities inspire their organization to do the same, and creates an opportunity for everyone to leverage their strengths to make everyone around them better.

Being vulnerable doesn’t mean you aren’t a good leader, it means you are a leader who understands that you don’t have all the answers and aren’t afraid to ask for help, and in doing so you surround yourself with people who can help you figure out those answers. Being vulnerable is a huge strength in rallying the troops and making change happen in today’s world.

7 Reasons why being Vulnerable is Important as a Leader:

  1. You will be better positioned to communicate your vision with passion with honesty, emotion, and inspiration.
  2. Your leadership will show authenticity, and no matter how magnetic and charismatic you might be, authenticity is king. Nothing is more authentic than a leader being honest about what needs to be done, and what they can personally do better to help their organization accomplish it.
  3. Vulnerable leaders care deeply others and want them to succeed. The example you set in helping others achieve their goals will multiply throughout organization and create a reproducible people culture based on honesty and integrity, instead of politics and looking out for their own interests at any cost.
  4. You will get very comfortable with sharing your story. Vulnerable leaders share their story at all levels throughout their organizations. There is nothing more inspiring than a leader sharing how they got where they are, and talking openly about the journey.
  5. Your platform to affect change is so much greater as everyone in your organization understands that they have a story too, and as they learn how to tell their stories they create another generation of leaders coming through the system, who in turn will inspire others.
  6. You learn one of the most important qualities every great leader has; the art of asking great questions. By asking questions, in addition to not acting like you know it all, you are genuinely seeking to understand what your team really thinks about the ideas on the table, and that builds loyalty, respect, and a can-do attitude quicker than anything else. And it all happened just because you took the time to sit with them, asked great questions, and heard what they thought.
  7. You build a reputation as a leader who truly cares, and not just someone who is looking at the bottom line. When you become known as a leader who does the right things for the right reasons, with your people in mind first, you have truly become a great leader.

Bonus Reason Why Being Vulnerable is Important as a Leader:

You will never asked to be on an episode of Undercover Boss. Seriously, how can anyone think it is a good thing to be featured on that show?! Leaders who are truly engaged in their organizations are known throughout, and could never pull that off. If you are a leader that could, you may want to check your vitals on your vulnerability.

Published by

Bobby Shaw

I am a former restaurant company executive with a passion for developing existing and future leaders to achieve high standards. I love helping organizations develop strong people cultures with an emphasis on leadership development that result in top-notch operations and better business results. I have over 30 years in the restaurant business in all facets of operations, from my start at McDonald's in the grill area in 1984 to overseeing 200+ restaurants with Chipotle Mexican Grill from 2002-2012 to leading Freebirds World Burrito's resurgence from 2013-2016 to working with the Salad and Go restaurant startup as CEO in 2016/2017. My real world experience transcends the typical operations background with a focus in leadership development and coaching. At the core of my background and experience, I believe that how leaders get results is just as important as getting them, and what got them where they are, won't necessarily get them where they want to go. I work closely with individual leaders and companies to improve their results through understanding how their strengths impact the overall results. My goal is to help business leaders and companies learn how to leverage the strengths of their employees by understanding their strengths and what they’re good at, and using that knowledge to positively impact their entire organization.

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