Over the last couple of years, this TED talk by Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, about the paradoxical power of vulnerability made huge waves on the Internet, catapulting it to popularity as one of the most viewed videos on the website. By now, TED lists it in their playlist of “classic” videos. The talk focuses on the roadblocks to interpersonal connections created by shame and fear; the relationship between self-worth, courage, and vulnerability in establishing connections; and the problematic tendency to numb vulnerability.
If you are skeptical about how applicable this might be to leadership, consider this: one of the most frequently cited skills of a great leader is his or her ability to connect and communicate with others. In a recent forum through Inc.com, Brown translated some of her original ideas into a more pragmatic setting. Her target was to bust four common myths about the role of vulnerability in leadership:
- Vulnerability is a weakness.
- You can opt out of vulnerability.
- Vulnerability means “letting it all hang out.”
- A person can go it alone.
To read her explanations negating these myths, you can find the article here.
You may have noticed we have a live comment box, so feel free to sound off! Is this a valid connection? Does vulnerability have a place in leadership? If so, how much?