It’s okay to be human. In fact, it’s critical. Effective leadership, or the ability to truly speak the language of leading, requires vulnerability – the willingness to remove the mask of perfection. Those who are emotionally intelligent know that perfection or the expectation of perfection is unrealistic.
Revealing vulnerabilities is an effective way to strip away your mask and help people understand that you’re just like them. You’ve had challenges. You’ve tried things. You’ve failed. The result? People feel they can relate to you and are more likely to feel connected to you and your cause. Being willing to share your humanity and embrace the humanity of others will help you be more effective than you ever imagined.
Expect and Accept Setbacks
On a climb in the Andes, my team and I were on our ninth day of climbing. Less than four hours from the summit, I fell through a crevasse. While everyone on the team was safe, this eliminated our opportunity to reach the summit and caused us to adjust our methods to continue climbing safely. Not unlike our careers, we sometimes fail to reach the goal despite our best efforts. We are vulnerable to events we can’t always control. Also, it’s the great leaders of the world that are able to show some vulnerability and say, “It hasn’t always been easy.”
Many might shy away from this level of honesty, fearing that it will inhibit people’s belief in you and your ability to succeed. That’s not actually what will happen. Consider Alec Guettel’s approach to business, a serial entrepreneur who co-founded Axiom Law and redefined the practice of law. When it comes to dealing with investors, Guettel subscribes to a single golden rule: he never leaves a meeting without divulging— in one way or another—some of his own personal weaknesses. He’s upfront about what he doesn’t know or has struggled to do well in the past. In fact, he makes it a priority to show people his vulnerabilities, to show people that he’s human, knowing that his honesty builds trust and long-term relationships.
Axiom embodies what Robert Kiyosaki, an investor, and self-help guru said: “The keys to success, in business and in life, are truthfulness, the ability to take and give, honest and well-intentioned feedback, strength of character, and conviction in one’s principles.”
We don’t need to air “dirty laundry” with all our faults and mistakes, but where appropriate, sharing our challenges with those around us allows others to realize that we are human. That ability to share allows us to understand and empathize with those around us – making us more effective leaders. Learn more about how to improve your EQ and leadership abilities by visiting, www.chuckgarcia.com