“Agility is perhaps the most critical ability, mindset and skill needed today.”
Vulnerable is defined as, capable of being physically or emotionally wounded1. The business definition of vulnerability states – the degree to which people, property, resources, systems, and cultural, economic, environmental, and social activity is susceptible to harm, degradation, or destruction on being exposed to a hostile agent or factor.2
A well-known and respected author, researcher and presenter on vulnerability is Brene Brown, who is a highly impressive and qualified expert on the impact of vulnerability. She states that vulnerability is the combination of uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. That in reality, vulnerability is not a weakness, it’s a strength. Every leader has vulnerability. The greatest leaders have the self-awareness to recognize this fact. They also recognize that showing their vulnerability is a sign of courage and strength.
We have spoken with many senior and c-level executives in North America and around the world over a number of years, and they struggle with the concept and use of the word vulnerability. Clearly it has resonated and been accepted but the practical application of “being vulnerable” is a struggle and uncomfortable to many and creates the reaction of—just tell me how I can be better in building my business, people and organization.
I have alternative options to consider. How about viewing that the best leaders are open, authentic, and agile? Let’s explore this further…
How can one demonstrate openness? For a start, are you receptive to new ideas, suggestions, and conflict? Are you open to doing things differently, regardless of previous successes? Are you willing to make mistakes and fail? Will you try something new based on others insights, recommendations, and expertise? Are you willing to accept that “I don’t know” or “I was wrong” are signs of strength not weakness? Being open is to do all of the above and at times be a blank canvas free of prejudice of thought, experience and view.
I link being authentic as someone who has self-awareness including awareness of their strengths and weaknesses. Awareness of how they see themselves vs. how others see them. They understand their drives and motivations, their natural selves and behaviors. They understand and reflect on all of the experiences that have shaped who they are whether amazing experiences, great accomplishments, or highly difficult experiences and great failures. They can link how these experiences have impacted them and what is important to them. Being authentic allows a person to be their true self, to be present, to be open, to be real.
Agility suggests flexibility, the ability to adapt situationally; to understand who you are and who you need to be in order to be effective, without compromising being authentic. Another critical component of agility is recognizing and being open to current and future success. Are you willing to consider that your previous successes are not indicators of your future success? Are you able to adapt to your new environment, people, market conditions, culture, competition, shifting and changing priorities and targets so you can be successful?
Agility today is perhaps the most critical ability, mindset and skill needed for leaders. Without the ability to adapt, change, learn, and shift – agility – one cannot address the constant changing landscape.
Leaders today want something tangible and practical that stretches them, challenges them, takes them out of their comfort zone. They want something that they can assess and do something about in how they develop themselves and others. We coach, develop, and advise leaders to understand, assess, and strengthen these and other critical leadership skills. These leadership skills are critical in growing your business, people and organization.
About Chuck Mollor, Managing Partner and Executive Coach, MCG Partners
About MCG Partners: Passion. People. Performance.
MCG Partners is a woman-owned, greater Boston-based consultancy specializing in executive coaching, leadership development, and organizational effectiveness solutions. MCG Partners is also a Predictive Index® (PI®) certified partner.