Leadership is such a broad word, isn’t it? When we hear it, we traditionally think of the leader of a company, organization or country. Maybe the leader of a sports team springs to mind.
If you recall, last month we explored the first ingredient in the secret sauce of the exceptional leaders we adore: self-awareness. Watching Ted Lasso this season has got me thinking about the second ingredient.
Let’s play a guessing game!
Let’s see if you can guess the second trait of exceptional leaders from my observations of the show (I promise, no spoilers!):
Ted Lasso acknowledges his mistakes and is open to receiving honest feedback from those around him.
Ted Lasso knows he doesn’t have all the answers.
Ted Lasso creates space to hear new ideas from his team, his co-coaches and even the waterboy (and doesn't even regret it when, you know . . . Nate).
Ted Lasso strives to get to know others and share more about himself on a timeline that makes sense for each individual he engages with.
Can you guess the second trait of impactful leaders?
One more hint: Brene Brown has made this trait a household name.
How can vulnerability be a leadership asset?
A leader I know reflected that when he first started his role, he thought he had all the answers and didn't need any support or guidance. This attitude was really helpful as he built his career because it allowed him to be a self-starter who got things done.
Yet, his independent leadership style also had some negative side effects. It created a weak and disengaged team with a narrow vision. It also left him feeling resentful and burnt out, which made it difficult for him to serve the community to the best of his ability.
Once this leader was able to make himself vulnerable through admitting when he was uncertain and could use some help, he was able to lead more collaboratively. He was surprised that under this style of leadership the organization grew, expanded and thrived in a way that would have been impossible if he alone was shouldering the work.
I know that I can feel like I’m hanging on for dear life when I ask for help on a project I committed to, seek an expert’s support during a parenting challenge or admit to my teenagers that I don’t have all the answers.
Yet, I also see how every time I make myself vulnerable in these ways, my relationships with those around me grow closer and deeper.
Vulnerability builds trust and connection, which allows us to be more effective together, whatever our shared vision is.
In the vein of asking for help, I’d love to get yours!
If you, or someone you know, is a leader in a nonprofit organization and curious about coaching, I’m opening my calendar up for complementary sessions and am always up for a chat about how we might work together (just hit reply!)
In the meantime, I’d love to hear more about your take on the secret sauce of effective leaders.
Keep finding ways to practice vulnerability where it makes sense for you and I look forward to staying connected!