A Coffee Break of Inspirational Leadership: Microvulnerability

Ran across this term a week or so ago. Microvulnerability.

(Note – spellcheck doesn’t like it…yet).

When I think of leadership, I can’t think of many leaders who have been brutally vulnerable about their skills, their knowledge, and their perspectives, because let’s face it. Vulnerability comes with risk taking. Fear.

Microvulnerability is about letting people know that you don’t have it all together all the time. And that makes you shockingly human, right? Those of us who are recovering perfectionists can breathe a sense of relief in knowing that microvulnerability gives us permission to let our hair down and be frank with others.

Still sound scary? I get it. In a world of Facebook posts (yes, I do that) and hashtags, blogs and Instagram, we put a lot out there that makes it look like we always have our s&%^ together and bring our A Game to all that we do. But it doesn’t need to be like that.

We all have days where we are insecure about our appearance, from our weight to the new zit that make-up just won’t cover. There are those days when we are destined to be five minutes late for everything and darn, we just cursed at another driver and our kids in the car heard it. It’s exhausting to try to appear perfect and, as a leader, not let other know we are having a bad day.

Been there. Done that. Too often.

So how do we go about being courageously vulnerable?

Perhaps you want to start with being frank when someone close asks about your day. I used to say “hanging in there” until someone pointed out that that might make me sound frazzled or stressed. Depending on the audience when I’m not having the day I would have liked, I might say “today is providing me a new set of challenges” or “its that one day out of ten when I’d like a do-over.” Generally these responses lead into a chat about what’s going on and inevitably that person offers some type of assistance that adds to our connection…and bond.

Something else that a more authentic response gets you? It makes you more human, especially if others think you’re the “perfect” (their words, not mine) leader, soccer mom, school volunteer, community leader, in shape athlete.

Not sold yet?

What if you ask for help? Going into a colleague’s office to ask for assistance, provided this isn’t your ongoing effort to dump work on others that you don’t want to do yourself, can be very empowering. On my team, we had a professional development day that was coming up and Special Education due process hearings that were draining my team. My “always got it together” teammate said all was good, but it was evident it wasn’t. When I pushed, she was struggling with getting it all done. And then she asked for help. I was overjoyed to provide assistance, and she was grateful for the offer and accepted.

And guess what? I saw her in another light and we both felt more connected as a result. Winner winner, chicken dinner.

Want more on microvulnerability? More below on how to be real and be better for it.

Check this out. And…hey….happy Monday!

* Read it.

Check out this article. It’s a pretty fast read and is about how being vulnerable can     be your greatest strength! Author Tony Fahkry is also a Brene Brown fan (watch below).

* Watch It.

Brene Brown is all the rage these days. She is so inspiring. And in this twenty minute TED Talk, she talks about how that empathy and connection is so important.

* Share it.

Can you print these and share them? Notes to colleagues on key topics like knowing they are cared for and that you’re acknowledging and supporting their microvulnerabilities. Now go slay yet another week!