Bridging Leadership Lessons from the Workplace and Those Experiences Shaping Today's Youth and Tomorrow's Leaders
Celebrities and sports figures are paid millions in endorsement deals as corporations count on the familiarity with John Q Public to lead to a natural sense of trust. You see them on a regular basis on your television. You read about their families and their personal tragedies that establish a connection as if you know them personally. While it may help influence your clothing selection, are you honestly going to stake your employment opportunities on the right arm of Patrick Mahomes or the voice of Carrie Underwood?
Trust is more than keeping your word. Trusting someone is critical to a good working relationship but trusting IN someone is more personal. You must build a personal connection if someone is going to put their trust IN you. There are people that you can trust to tell you the truth, but would you follow them with absolute trust?
Transparency and vulnerability are two critical components of establishing that personal connection. Transparency is being open. Not hiding an ulterior motive. Both sides are up front with their WIIFM - What’s In It For Me. People mistake this for selfishness, but in reality, it simply is the human need to know that they bring value. When you connect at that level showing that they bring value, then they make the connection that they HAVE value.
Vulnerability comes in sharing that personal side, your own mistakes. It’s extending Trust first- openly and without fear. It’s saying “here are my flaws. I know them and you need to know them too, so we can overcome them together.” It’s exhibited when a member of our Manufacturing team is recognized in a meeting for scrapping an intermediate batch of our product because he put in the wrong amount of an ingredient. We gave him a gift certificate for his catch, because he knew something was wrong, investigated, pulled in an engineer and they stopped the batch. Being forthcoming might have cost us some time and dollars, but not nearly the value of a final batch and the potential negative impact to the customer. He did the right thing by being transparent and we rewarded his trust.
It’s not simply sharing a secret that you don’t want shared. It’s sharing your place in the story with that person, creating a personal connection. There is no place for ego. You can’t “create” vulnerability, you can only exhibit vulnerability. Most will see it as not being genuine or simply fake. You may fool someone at first as they simply want it to be so, but when the truth comes out, as it always does, the trust will be forever broken.
Being vulnerable isn’t a sign of weakness but a demonstration of strength and courage. People want that in their leaders. People need to believe that their own flaws and mistakes do not define them. By being vulnerable, you build trust and are showing them that their past is not limiting them but another connection to get them Beyond Today.
Tom Brown - a husband and a father who is simply trying to make a difference. Using my experience as a Manufacturing Executive to connect leadership from the boardroom to the hardwood to help teams grow and develop to make a difference in the lives of others.