Open, not closed

Posted: January 31, 2015 in Uncategorized

It’s been more than a year and a half since I attended the Global Leadership Summit for 2014. I’m a bit of a junkie when it comes to these; the excellent line up of speakers, setting aside dedicated time for bigger picture thinking and the general vibe of the event makes it something that I savour every time I go. I also find, though, that there’s at least one remarkable talk at every event that keeps coming back to me, that really affects me in a fundamental way. At the 2014 session, it was Brene Brown’s talk on shame and vulnerability.

In a nutshell, she highlighted our deep need for love and acceptance and pointed out that, to achieve these we needed to be brave, to be vulnerable. This is what would overcome the shame and disrespect that characterises organisations where love is throttled. Her GLS talk is not online, but you can hear her talking about vulnerability here:
It’s a funny thing, vulnerability. Instinctively, we avoid it because we’re afraid that opening up ourselves like that will see others either turn away or turn on us. And yet, I always seem to find the opposite to be true. I guess we all live in fear of our own vulnerability and to see another expose their own willingly reminds us of something that need so desperately to know: that we are not alone. So the most common response to voluntarily exposing vulnerability that I have found (not without exception, but overwhelmingly so) is that people incline themselves to forming a bond with you, not breaking it. And when leaders show both their vulnerability and their strength, people want to follow.
It’s ironic that, in this beautiful land of ours with so much opportunity for genuine vulnerability, our leaders – and, inevitably, all others – are set on seeking to strengthen their their position and their following by denying any vulnerability at all. It leaves the love and connection they profess to build slowly asphyxiating in the absence of what they need most. I wish that they wouldn’t do this, that they were open, not closed. Perhaps if they see it elsewhere, they will be.
  1. Peta-Ann says:

    Wish I’d read this sooner it’s fantastic & brilliant

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