Most Leaders Around The World Don't Admit Mistakes, Ask For Help, Or Show Emotion At Work & It's Killing Employee Engagement
It's no wonder so many employees around the world are not engaged in their jobs. Most of us work for bad leaders in toxic cultures. The solution? Make "leading with vulnerability" a requirement!
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In my brand new book, Leading With Vulnerability, I interviewed over CEOs and surveyed 14,000 employees around the world with DDI. We asked everyone what it means to be a vulnerable leader and then we asked the 14,000 employees, how many of their leaders exhibit the qualities of a vulnerable leader. The results were astounding to say the least!
Before I show you some of the CEO responses and the data, here’s how I define what it means to be a vulnerable leader in my book:
A vulnerable leader is a leader who intentionally opens themselves up to the potential of emotional harm while taking action (when possible) to create a positive outcome.
For example, you admit to making a mistake at work and take action to fix it and review what you learned. You share a personal challenge or struggle at work to build trust, connection, and get support. You ask for help and take action to get the necessary training required to get up to speed. The intended outcome is positive and you take action when you can.
While vulnerability has been talked about for many years now, it’s clear that vulnerability at work (specifically for leaders) is not the same as it is in our personal lives. We have a different dynamic at work with hierarchy, employees, bosses, projects, deadlines, customers, salaries, and the like. My argument is that simple being vulnerable at work, where you show up each day talking about the gaps you have, can cause more harm than good. The solution is to not just sharing the gaps you have, but demonstrating what you are trying to do do close those gaps.
I looked at the common themes and patterns that allow leaders to unlock vulnerability as their greatest superpower. But as with any superpower, the hero wielding it needs to know what they can and can’t do, what amplifies and diminishes their powers, what the limits of those powers are, and how to use them with purpose.
Here are a few of the definitions that CEOs shared with me on what it means to be a vulnerable leader.
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