“Only when we have the strength to show our vulnerability can we truly lead.” – Simon Sinek
A number of years ago I was embroiled in the world of labour relations, negotiating automation plans with unions, labour lawyers, legal precedents and so on. Continual positioning, strategizing and re-positioning in efforts to win a point, block moves and achieve victory was exhausting. So was the emotional roller-coaster ride of dealing with individuals that simply did not want to agree on anything, and who would change tack mid-sentence. Eventually the game became one of manipulation, intrigue and smoke and mirrors, and 9 months after negotiations began the original agreement was signed. The strongest party survived and won, but it was a hollow victory, because it was, in effect, 9 months wasted. It had been a mediocre experience.
The traditional view of strength looks like this. We have to win, no matter what the cost, and winning means someone else must lose. We grew up playing cowboys and crooks, cops and robbers, and several variations of that theme. We looked up to idols like John Wayne, James Bond, and various other stereotypes of strength. Our government at the moment is seeing power-plays and intrigue based on force, extortion and the threat of revealing dark secrets.
But for remarkable people, the picture of strength looks very different. It’s an inner strength that comes from being completely in tune with themselves, having reconciled who they are, and who they are not. There are no secrets, and as a result the remarkable person has nothing to fear. This doesn’t mean that they never do anything wrong, it simply means that they accept responsibility for the wrong-doings and move on. The remarkable person becomes completely vulnerable and authentic, and it is precisely there where strength comes from. Leadership consultant Pat Lencioni says that leaders should allow their people to see them sweat, and be open and honest about it.
Abraham Lincoln displayed this kind of strength that comes from vulnerability. In his earlier life he was disgraced in the military and was a fairly mediocre politician. He was by no means popular. But when he became president of the US, he chose many of his greatest opponents and antagonists to form part of his cabinet. Why? He knew that they were strong people, and that together they would be able to forge a very strong government. He wasn’t afraid to have his ideas questioned, challenged, and even openly criticised. Can you imagine the inner strength it must take to make yourself so vulnerable, that you put your reputation, career and aspirations into the hands of people that may mean you harm, knowing that it is the only way to possibly achieve victory?
What kind of strength are you cultivating?
If you are looking to be impacted by people who have been on this journey for many years, this year’s Live2Lead conference in October features five remarkable people! More information at www.live2lead-capetown.co.za.
If you are not yet signed up to receive my blog in your mail, and would like to get it sent to your inbox, sign up here!
If you would like to know more about the Dieter Jansen Group and its products and servicesENQUIRE NOW