Vulnerability is a Key Ingredient Missing from Leadership Ethics
Leadership ethics speaks to the reflection of your character, morals, & integrity to the world – from the inside out. There is a ton of chatter lately about not only integrating sound ethical practice into your leadership, but also defining what actually makes up a base standard to live by. Vulnerability has become THE buzz word of the leadership development landscape, but is rarely translated into practice.
May I propose that any ethical framework is actually ineffective…unless it comes from within the leader & is reflected through vulnerability. This is a topic I have spoken much about, see some of my posts here. Vulnerability is not just transparency and authenticity. It is the ultimate act of differentiation however, because it is the act of ‘being seen’ by others as your true self. If you are going through the motions of ethics, but it’s really not coming from within – then you are only modifying behavior & that doesn’t last long. In reality are you are doing is making your ethics irrelevant.
You cannot give what you don’t possess.
Early in my leadership roles I learned the hard way that trying to ‘act according to the role’ is nothing but a formula for disaster. You must be who you are, and bring that forward each day, regardless of your leadership context. That strength of character from within, then translates into practical ethics that are applied second nature in tandem with your daily roles. You are then empowered to weather critique, expectations of others, and the par for the course challenges of being the leader.
In order to do this, I suggest that the risk, & courage required to be vulnerable are equally necessary in order to have a complete leadership ethic. This is especially needed today! If the leaders outside does not match their inside…their leadership influence will be stunted, toxic, and at best ineffective. Whether we like it or not, we treat leaders with a different standard than we do their employees or reports.
The consequences to the leader for their vulnerability always cost them more than intended.
This cost is both positive and negative. Positive result can be a more authentic (and productive) employee culture. Negative, well, just watch any news report, and you will see plenty examples of what I’m referring to. Yes, leaders must have thick skin. However as a culture we cannot value vulnerability in ourselves when we express it and then condemn our just-as-human leaders we follow when they live this out. For sure, this is a challenging topic. As you ponder your contribution, as a leader or as a follower, consider reflecting:
1. What has my vulnerability cost me in my business, leadership, relationships? Both positive and negative?
2. How do my ethics reflect who I am? Am I the same person professionally as I am personally?
3. When I consider the integration of ethics and vulnerability, I think ________?
Please contact me today to deepen the impact you make as a leader, and develop a more effective leadership ethic that is authentic and vulnerable.