Why should true leaders display Vulnerability, Courage, Gratitude and Authenticity? Who in their right mind would allow others to know that they are vulnerable? Well on the night of his second US Presidential Election, POTUS Barack Obama showed his vulnerability by declaring his love for his wife Michelle in front of the whole world. Vulnerability is one of the many factors that got him re-elected. Women in particular respond to this, with the majority of women voting for Obama.
True Leaders are all about Connection
Connection is intrinsic to everyone, without connection we cannot live. Connection brings meaning and purpose to our lives. Without connection we as people cannot survive. We fear disconnection; deep down inside it is our greatest fear. Our fear is that something we have done during our lives is so shameful that this will cause disconnection from our loved ones. Only psychopaths can survive without connection. A True Leader will have the ability to connect with people in abundance.
True Leaders are all about Vulnerability
We have all heard that voice in our heads, our ego, saying you are not good enough! If we get past that, the next question is, who do you think you are? The majority of C-Suite executives in America were polled and their greatest fear was they would get found out. They believed they were not good enough to hold the high powered position they had worked up to.
Accepting your Vulnerability is fundamental to you as a person. Brene Brown in her TED Talk speaks of how Vulnerability is the birth place of Joy, Creativity, Belonging and Love. By accepting that you are enough, by ignoring your ego. Accepting our own faults and failings we listen better and our authenticity shines through. We become far better leaders for our authenticity and vulnerability.
True Leaders are all about Courage
Courage to be imperfect, courage to be vulnerable, just like Obama on election night. Courage means from the heart. Courage to be compassionate to ourselves, because if we cannot be compassionate to ourselves how can we be compassionate to others. If we are not compassionate how can we have connection or have empathy with other people. An understanding for others’ strengths and weaknesses is paramount to a leader. How can you do this if you have not got the courage to accept your own imperfections?
True Leaders are all about Gratitude
I wrote a few years back that Gratitude is one of the Universal Powers. Gratitude if practised every day helps you to remain grounded to your beliefs and values. You do not lose touch with your courage or your compassion. By having an Attitude of Gratitude as part of your daily routine it helps you to be accepting of what is going on around you. Both the things you can control and those you cannot.
True Leaders are all about Authenticity
Authenticity shines through like a beacon and people see this. Richard Branson is a living example of how to remain authentic in business. When you hear him speak he remains congruent to his values and principles. This is a very difficult thing to achieve but the true leaders do so intrinsically. Nelson Mandela, despite his time on Robin Island, never let his ego dictate how he dealt with the “White Minority” after he was released. In fact it made him all the more courageous as his compassion to them was incredible and his Authenticity shone brightly.
What is actually happening in today’s world?
In referring to Brene Browns TED Talk earlier she also says that we “Numb” ourselves so we cannot feel emotions. Americans today are the most indebted, obese, addicted and medicated generation in American history. It is a similar story here in Ireland. We want to block the trails and tribulations of everyday life. So we “Numb” them with food, drink, drugs and over spending.
The difficulty with that is we also block, joy, love, gratitude and happiness when we “Numb”. The “Numbing” process also brings another difficulty, we want to make everything certain. We want to blame everybody else for everything that is wrong with our lives. The right wing politics in America is evidence of this, I am right you are wrong, now shut the f**k up. This is a way to discharge pain and discomfort and we pretend that what we do does not impact on others.
People need Leadership, something sadly lacking in Ireland. What I wouldn’t give for a person to stand up like Obama did two weeks ago and proclaim loudly, I am vulnerable and I am happy. Today’s Leader needs all the above attributes and when he/she gets this right the resulting community will run through “Brick Walls” to work for this Leader. By understanding vulnerability, courage, gratitude and authenticity you become the photo fit of the True Leader. Do you agree?