Leadership has really changed in the last few years. We are expecting leaders to lead with more self awareness of their actions, understand the feelings of their staff while addressing social issues that are impacting their team members, manage a pandemic and business changes. In conversations with the leadership population of our clients through EDIB consulting work or inclusive leadership coaching, we find that these leaders are navigating a new way of being. This new way is one of deeper vulnerability, authenticity and transparency.
These leaders are trying to understand how these feminine leadership traits balance with the masculine leadership traits of targets and bottom line that they grew up with. They are navigating their own traumas while supporting their team members in balancing the pressures of societal issues and the pandemic.
Many of the leaders have shared that being vulnerable in the workplace has been quite terrifying, as they fear that staff members may lose confidence in their leadership. However, the beautiful occurrence time and time again is when leaders combine authenticity with vulnerability: staff members for the most part welcome the heart-felt engagement. There are a select few who will judge or lose confidence however they usually are not a culture add for the organization so they self-select themselves out.
As per the Merriam-webster definitions:
Vulnerability is the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.
Authenticity is being true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.
The beauty of being vulnerable and authentic is people see what they can trust within an individual. They become aware of false personas that are hindering connection. The connection at this level is what supports the creation of inclusive teams and inclusive culture. It is therefore important to become comfortable with one’s own truth, past and bias in order to truly be an inclusive leader.
Through Veza’s advisory and inclusive leadership coaching, we work with leaders to address these uncomfortable situations with a little more ease and grace. The beauty of discomfort is there is always room for growth.