As an artist who over the course of her career has turned into an entrepreneur, I have had to learn a couple of lessons on business and leadership over the years to take my business to the next level. The lessons might be plenty, but one of the most important things I have learnt is the significance of vulnerability in leadership.
In this blog, I would like to explore and list down all of the things I have realized and learnt over the years about the value of human connection in the context of business leadership. I hope this would help you nurture your own vulnerability and utilize it in advancing yourself professionally.
So, let’s take a look at some of these lessons:
Lesson 1 – Understand and embrace your vulnerabilities
What does it mean to be “vulnerable”?
Firstly, we need to understand the concept of being vulnerable and what it entails. To be vulnerable, one is aware and acknowledges their areas of improvement, the realities of their circumstances and what pushes their button. In order to be vulnerable, I believe, one has to have a very honest relationship with themselves and a thorough understanding of who they are as a person. This requires introspection and some quality time being spent with yourself. It is when you are aware of all of your vulnerabilities, you can put in the work to grow from them and finding people who can help you manage and grow from them.
It is when we understand and embrace our vulnerabilities, we are able to adopt constructive behaviour and develop strength of character that will positively impact all aspects of our lives, personal and professional.
Lesson 2 – There are no mistakes, only lessons learnt
Think about the last time you felt vulnerable? I bet, it was when you messed up or made a mistake that was caught by someone. Well, we all hate making mistakes. I know, I did. It is the way, we are raised and taught in schools to avoid making mistakes because a mistake means that we have failed or that our shortcomings have been exposed. This is the mindset that we need to change and approach everything from a place of growth and learning. Every mistake presents you with an opportunity to learn and grow from it. This is how we get wiser, as we get older by making mistakes and hitting the bumps on the road.
In a business setting, when you make a mistake, it might result in a monetary loss but this is the cost you pay in learning a crucial business lesson. It comes down to you to acknowledge the mistake and making sure that your employees are aware of what happened, so you put up systems in place to avoid that mistake from happening again. This will not only help improve your business but will also set an example of what trustworthiness in leaders looks like for all of your business stakeholders.
Lesson 3 – Be open to asking for help
Yes, asking for help can be the most vulnerable thing to do when you are a perfectionist like I am. However, the fact remains that you can’t do everything yourself. It is literally impossible. Even if you try to micromanage and control everything, you will end up being burnt out, tired and out of motivation. If you are struggling or facing a challenge in your work because of a knowledge or skill gap, then ask for help. I am sure there are plenty of people and resources out there to assist you. Also, at a certain point in the growth of your business, consider hiring people who can be delegated with tasks that are a time suck for you. Conserve your time and energy for things that actually matter to you and your growing business.
This is what successful, vulnerable leaders do!
Lesson 4 – Know your limits and openly acknowledge when you need to take a break
This is a tough one for some people to grasp. We all want to keep going and keep believing that we have an infinite pool of energy that we can draw on to keep hitting all the deadlines and meeting our business KPIs.
I get it – you have invested all your time and effort into this craft and business, the desire for it to get off the ground is immense. So, you spend every waking moment obsessing over every single detail and idea to the point that you are spending countless hours working and never really finding the time to destress and recharge.
You know, what that does? Yes, you end up burnt out and with zero motivation for not only your art but also your family and friends. Therefore, acknowledge and understand when you have had enough and need a break to recharge your batteries. This kind of vulnerability is crucial to form boundaries between your work and your personal life, it is only when you have this clear healthy divide, you are able consistently create and have the energy to face all kinds of professional challenges.
There you have it – some of the crucial lessons that I have learnt about the importance of vulnerability in business and workplace. I hope after reading this blog, you are motivated to take stock of your own vulnerabilities, understanding them and channelling them to make more informed business and professional decisions about yourself.
Like Brene Brown so wisely said, “Leaders must either invest a reasonable amount of time attending to fears and feelings or squander an unreasonable amount of time trying to manage ineffective and unproductive behaviour.”
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