The exceptional leaders take their moments of vulnerability
and build on them.
The most effective leaders I have collaborated with found themselves there more times than you might imagine. If you haven’t found yourself there yet, you will. At least, you will if you want to grow.
“There” refers to the state of being over your head. Feeling like you have wadded into something you lack the wherewithal to handle. It can be frightening. It tests—maybe even shakes—your confidence and determination to move forward. You question your skillset. You feel vulnerable.
You might even say to yourself, “I had no idea it would be this rough. Geez, what in the world was I thinking.”
Ocean kayaking provides an instructive metaphor. Standing on shore the waves do not look quite as challenging as when you paddle through them. What appeared to be modest undulations while standing on the sand, feel like a tsunami when you find yourself being tossed every which way. The tools you brought with you are the same ones that worked well (really well!) in the past. You remember the paddle in your hands being much more effective on the river or the lake. But not today. You are over your head. And you might get (probably will get) tossed from the boat. Frustrated, battered, and with bruised ego, you drag yourself to shore.
The ineffective managers look to blame something or someone. They fail to make meaningful adjustments. Why should they, they could not be the problem! “My way is still the best way and we keep moving in that direction.” Rather than seek feedback and make corrections, they stubbornly move forward. Unfortunately, depending on the situation, the upheaval may have dire consequences for all around.
The exceptional leaders take their moments of vulnerability and build on them. They ask for coaching. Recheck their equipment. Look at their compass. Take stock of what they have and what they need. Ask for critiques. They may even backup, return to calmer waters, gain more experience, and return with renewed strength.
To whom do you turn?
Video recommendation for the week:
Vulnerability does not equate with weakness.
Make it an inspiring year and H.T.R.B. as needed.
For information about and to order my book, Stories About Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here. A number of colleges and one state-wide agency have adopted it for training and coaching purposes. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same.
Pearson Education publishes my student textbooks for life success—Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? (3rd edition).
(c) 2018. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.