Embrace Your Vulnerability Vulture

Belonging, Human First Leadership

There’s lots of conflicting advice around about being a leader. One question I have is around whether it’s good for leaders to show ‘weakness’ or not.

I guess it depends on what sort of leader you want to be.


Last week (when I make a MISTAK and posed my contribution to the #slowchat #leadership #digimeet seven days early!) I talked about the difference between being a manager and being a leader. Great leaders know their WHY and live that brand every day to:

• enrol people into their vision

• transform lives by acknowledging and validating people

• galvanise people into action

I don’t know about you, but that sounds exactly like the job spec of a teacher to me. Teachers are leaders and, when their WHY is focused on developing mini humans into adults who know the difference between success and fulfilment, they become the best example of leadership in action.


On Friday, I gave a keynote at the TBAP conference. Part of their WHY is ‘Success by any means’. During my talk, I joked that the criminal mastermind in me might take that interpretation off at a tangent, but it’s a statement that sums up stellar leadership. A bold and unwavering WHY. The journey will no doubt take some unexpected turns, but the goal remains the same – no matter what.

My leadership journey started when I got curious about what would happen if I just told the truth. I ditched my planned talk and instead explained how teachers transformed my life. This week Friday, I decided to go #10%braver and share more of my journey and acknowledge and validate the incredible difficult work these teachers face by showing them how what they do can turn a broken girl into a whole adult.

It was terrifying. Being authentic requires being vulnerable – and being vulnerable TOTALLY SUCKS! However, as Brene Brown says, there’s power in vulnerability. When in doubt, I know that staying true to my WHY of being a catalyst for change may make a little bit of sick come up into my mouth, but will also allow people to access their own secret power.

So I told my story of resilience, engaged and enrolled the audience, acknowledged their work and, from the overwhelming comments I got afterwards, galvanised them ready for the coming year.


Standing on that stage, in front of 300 people, I was both authentic and vulnerable and it paid off in spades. It was the most humbling experience to talk to people afterwards and hear what they took from not so much what I said but how and why I said it.

For me, a mahousive part of leadership is being prepared to be vulnerable. I’m asking a huge favour from overworked, underpaid, and under acknowledged teachers to give their whole selves. More are inclined to gift that when I put out myself first.


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