Brené Brown describes vulnerability as a measure of strength, not weakness. Expressing feelings of self-doubt and uncertainty, discussing uncertain situations, and sharing encounters with failure and hardship are all ways that we can practice vulnerability. Many Westerners have been raised to think of vulnerability as a weakness or a flaw. In fact, vulnerability is a tool that can build better relationships and stronger communities.
Emotional strength requires a kind of paradoxical softness: the willingness to share emotions and remain open to different points of view. When leaders practice vulnerability, they create emotional connections and build trust. Teams work better when they have established a shared comfort level, emotionally and psychologically. When colleagues feel they can openly share their experiences with one another, the entire team will benefit from hearing different points of view.
Expressing vulnerability isn’t always easy. The process requires rigorous honesty, as well as compassion and acceptance for other people’s perspectives. Vulnerability often requires pushing past your comfort zone to convey an experience or uphold a value. However difficult these displays of emotion may seem, the return on investment will be high.
Ready to open your heart and mind? Start with our Instaread on Braving the Wilderness.