As I have said many times, I believe every one of us is called to leadership. That doesn’t require anyone to hold a leadership position within an organization, but it does require us to commit to being our best most authentic selves, aware that we are all here to make this world a better place.
Brené Brown defines vulnerability as having the courage to show up, to be seen. Leadership requires just that. It says nothing about perfection or winning or even being liked or loved. Being vulnerable in leadership means “I know what my vision is.” “I know what my purpose is.” And, I am calling you to share that vision with me while helping me make it real. In doing so, we then strive to achieve, recognizing our humanity, our fears, our strengths, and our challenges.
Humility in the midst of this means that “I know what I am Ok at, good at, and great at, and I know that when I am living my purpose I am filled with passion and power which make me even better. Nowhere in there however is “I know what I am perfect at.” Rather, we are always learning, growing, backing up, breathing, and then going forward again.
Whether it is learning to listen to others’ beliefs that are very much unlike our own, or simply learning to see that there are many ways to see the same thing, we have opportunities to get that lesson constantly. Just yesterday my brother and I were discussing a jungle gym his granddaughter was climbing. I remarked that when we were kids there was a simple ladder to swing across and a few bars to climb.
Now there is a rope maze where there are literally hundreds of different strips to climb. I said the poor kids have enough complications in life. What about simplicity? He just looked at me and said “Dot, they have all kinds of choices they can make along the way.” All I could say is “Wow that’s what you see? I never saw that.” I still prefer simplicity, but he has a solid point. Who’s right? Perhaps both of us. Who cares? Listening to other perspectives and being open to each is the only important factor. Can you?
Can you see that there is validity to different perspectives? For me, as long as no one is hurt, or victimized, any number of perspectives can co-exist. That certainly creates empathy and the ability to see that different training, exposure, and history can cause all of us to see from our unique perspective. As a leader, finding an approach that works best for your team, your vision, and your goals is what it is about. Not because you chose what is the only right answer necessarily, but that you chose the right answer for you.
Humility, vulnerability, and the willingness to keep learning and growing allows you to see that this is your opinion today but in 1-5, or 10 years you may see it all differently. Not a mistake, simply your truth at the time until you come to see things differently. For me that is exciting. How will I think in 5-10 years? What will I desire at that point? Being willing to see you as you are now, being vulnerable enough to share it with others, and smart enough to know you are called to always be growing makes you a leader and a mentor that is invaluable.