The Power of Vulnerability in Leadership: Insights from TEC Chair Jeremy Harvey
Are you an accomplished CEO, president, entrepreneur, or business owner feeling hesitant about embracing vulnerability? It’s understandable. Admitting to your limitations and showing your vulnerabilities can feel uncomfortable and intimidating. However, vulnerability is a powerful tool that can unlock growth and success in your leadership journey.
At its core, vulnerability is about being open and honest about your thoughts, feelings, and weaknesses. As a leader, this means being willing to admit to your mistakes, uncertainties, and limitations. It’s the opposite of projecting a perfect, invulnerable image of yourself.
To help you understand the importance of vulnerability in leadership, we’ve reached out to TEC Chair, Jeremy Harvey. Through his insights and experiences, we hope to inspire you to embrace vulnerability as a key element of your leadership style.
The Power of Vulnerability in Leadership
Why is vulnerability so crucial in building relationships, you ask? Let me explain. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we convey the message, “I trust you with my innermost thoughts and feelings.” This act builds a strong foundation of trust and respect, enabling us to establish more profound, more meaningful relationships based on transparency and honesty.
Sharing our vulnerabilities with others is an influential way of forging deep connections in our relationships. When we disclose our strengths, weaknesses, fears, and challenges, we become more relatable and approachable to others, breaking down barriers and allowing others to feel they can relate to us on a deeper level.
Transparency is also critical in building trust. When we are transparent with others, we show that we are willing to take responsibility for our actions and be accountable for any mistakes or missteps. This demonstrates reliability and integrity, which are essential traits for building trust in any relationship.
In conclusion, vulnerability and transparency go hand in hand when it comes to building trust. Sharing our vulnerabilities and being transparent about our thoughts, feelings, and actions creates an atmosphere of openness and honesty, fostering trust and deeper connections in our relationships.
Vulnerability is the key to forming deeper connections with others. When we share our hopes, fears, and insecurities, we create a safe space for others to do the same, leading to greater empathy and understanding.
Peer groups offer a unique opportunity for vulnerability and transparency, providing business leaders with a safe and supportive environment to share their thoughts and feelings. However, building this level of connection takes time and effort, starting with someone being completely open about a past event or current concern.
I witnessed the power of vulnerability firsthand when a member of one of my TEC Canada peer advisory groups shared an issue, ending with the words, “I haven’t even told that to my wife.” Over the next few meetings, this member received support from fellow members, who also shared similar experiences. He realized that he was not alone in facing this issue and struggling to share it with those closest to him.
This member’s openness and vulnerability set the tone for others to do the same, creating a domino effect of trust and openness within the group. This created powerful bonds that lasted beyond the TEC Canada peer advisory group meetings and provided a sense of support and understanding that was invaluable.
Vulnerability requires us to push beyond our comfort zones and embrace risk-taking. It is through this process that we can discover more about ourselves and our potential, enabling us to grow and develop positively in our personal and professional lives. In the words of Ken Poirot, “The first step forward is to admit your fear, then you can take the next step to conquer it.” When we acknowledge to ourselves and others that we may not know the way forward, or that we are unsure if we have what it takes to succeed, we are stepping outside our comfort zones. One of the TEC Canada members in our group recently shared their fear of not having the necessary skills to undertake a new initiative, but through self-reflection, they recognized that their real obstacle was a lack of confidence and a fear of failure. This realization empowered them to take the necessary steps, ultimately resulting in the successful implementation of the initiative and a boost in their confidence. The lesson learned is that a confident mindset can maximize our existing capabilities, leading to success and personal growth.
Embracing vulnerability encourages authenticity, allowing us to shed the façade of who we think we should be and instead reveal our true selves. When we try to be someone we’re not, it can be incredibly taxing, both mentally and physically, and it’s not a sustainable way of living. Conversely, by embracing vulnerability, we can tap into our authenticity and live more fulfilling lives. One TEC Canada member in our peer group summed up the value of our community perfectly, explaining how it provided a safe space for him to let down his guard and “take off his masks”. In doing so, he not only allowed himself to be vulnerable, but he also encouraged others to do the same. This ability to create a supportive environment where authenticity is valued is what makes our peer group so special.
SUPPORTS MENTAL HEALTH
Our mental health is crucial, and ignoring our emotions can have serious consequences such as anxiety, depression, and stress. However, by embracing vulnerability and creating a safe space to share our feelings and concerns, we can significantly improve our overall well-being. That’s why I’m thrilled that TEC Canada Speaker Dave Inglis will soon be joining one of our TEC Canada peer group meetings. His expertise and insight will undoubtedly be a valuable addition to our discussions, and I’m confident that his contribution will help us further support our mental health goals.