Deep down, everyone knows that we don’t have the answers. If we are faking it, people can see right through us and their trust actually starts to wane. The reality is that showing some vulnerability as a leader is the only way to establish authority in a confusing climate like the one we find ourselves in today. To be truly credible, we must be forthright with both what we know and what we don’t.
Real leadership in this moment may actually require someone standing up and saying, “You know what, I know the world is chaotic and we have no real clear picture of what tomorrow will bring. I am scared out of my mind. If you are not scared, you should be. And I am not really sure what to do but collectively we are going to find a way.”
Showing some humility in the face of adversity and then having the faith to rely on your teammates is what character-based leadership is all about. This is a wonderful time for people to come together in an effort to find paths forward. And it is even a better opportunity for leaders to establish themselves through the power of vulnerability.
We have permission not to be perfectly correct all the time. One of the best things about the world today is that there is a great sense of understanding that everybody has “stuff.” People are totally accepting of the idea that people have issues and that nobody is perfect. In turn, problems arise when people try to fake it. You see, we all can smell the fake a mile away these days and there is no credibility or trust built when someone poses as the be-all and end-all. The bottom line is that real trust is built when we let our guards down and we let others in.
When you allow yourself the chance to be vulnerable and marry that with an unwavering passion to serve others, people will follow. The fact is that we are starving for leaders that exemplify character and we need people who know what they know and are not afraid of what they don’t. As long as we are committed to help others and communicate fiercely, good things will happen.
This is a time to be real but also courageous. In other words, you don’t have to fake confidence or authority. We all deserve truth and honesty. And when we get it from people in leadership positions, we are accepting of flaws. Where you lose people is when there is a lack of passion and commitment to serve others. It is simply non-negotiable to lack care when running a business and managing a team.
What a great time to lead. You just don’t need to have the answers. But you have to have a heart.