Leaders and Vulnerability

Are you willing to apologize?

Summary
Transcript

In this backstage interview from Leadercast Live 2019, Patrick Lencioni, best-selling author and founder of The Table Group, explains why it’s especially critical for leaders to be vulnerable and willing to apologize. 

“When a person isn't vulnerable, teamwork falls apart,” shares Patrick. “If a leader cannot be vulnerable and apologize, if that leader can't be human, the rest of the team isn't going to be that way. And what's really interesting is that people won't trust a leader if they know they can't tell the leader the truth.”

Watch the video to learn more about the role vulnerability plays in effective leadership.


TAKEAWAYS
- Building trust requires vulnerability.
- Vulnerability shows up in environments where people feel secure.
- Leaders must learn to apologize.

    And at the heart of trust and at the heart of the whole model I think is this concept of vulnerability. And when a person is just not comfortable being emotionally naked, if you will, acknowledging what they don't know, acknowledging what they're not good at, apologizing, saying something difficult because they're afraid of how people are going to respond to it. When a person isn't vulnerable, teamwork falls apart.

    I think apologizing, it's one of the things I look for in a person to know if they're trustworthy. Because if they can't come back from something and say, "You know, I was wrong about that or I wasn't fair," it lingers. And I think that the key to apologizing is being vulnerable enough to say, "Yeah, I was kind of terrible there for a moment." It doesn't mean you're condemning yourself. It just means we're all fallen people.

    We're all sinners, if you will. And people that don't think that about themselves. What's ironic is people that have a hard time apologizing, it's not because they're arrogant, it's usually because they're insecure. So I think the biggest thing about being able to apologize is to realize nobody's immune to this. And we have to give people confidence to feel like you're still a good person, even though for a moment there, you might've done the wrong thing.

    If a leader cannot be vulnerable and apologize, if that leader can't be human, the rest of the team isn't going to be that way. And what's really interesting is that people won't trust a leader if they know they can't tell the leader the truth. And especially the truth about them. If they say, "I have to dance around this leader's fault and I can't go there," then they have their trust, there's a ceiling on that trust. And they go, "Listen, I can tell them only things that won't violate their ego," which is why the leader by far is the most important person that has to be willing to apologize, willing to take difficult feedback. And that, and that alone is going to be the gateway to the rest of the team doing it.
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    Patrick Lencioni

    Patrick Lencioni is founder and president of The Table Group, a firm dedicated to providing organizations with ideas, products and services that improve teamwork, clarity and employee engagement.

    Patrick’s passion for organiz...

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