Vulnerability + Strength = Personal Power

Rebecca Morgan quote
Photo: Rebecca Morgan, San José, CA


Some people are drawn to forceful leaders. Others appreciate leaders who have a gentler approach.

I — and many others — find the combination of vulnerability plus strength is compelling. Many people feel connected to others who are willing to show humility, admit when they are wrong, demonstrate heartfelt emotions, and express sincere caring for others.

However, the leader can’t be timid or cowardly. Saying, “That’s just the way I am” does not show awareness that your behaviors harm others close to you. It’s a cop out. Saying, “I’ve had that bad habit a long time. It will be hard for me to change, but I am willing to focus on changing it as I see it is hurtful.”

Vulnerability has to be coupled with strength to obtain respect. Combining the two creates personal power, resulting in leaders many want to follow. How do you balance the two?

* Show vulnerability by apologizing when you have made a mistake. Vow to do better in the future.

* Apologize when you’ve done something that negatively affected someone. Couple it with courage by adding, “And I won’t ever do that again.”

* When you know someone is struggling, gently ask how you can support them, then do whatever you can to help. Sometimes they may just want a compassionate listener or a hug. Or you can merely lighten their load, or do something you know will help.

They key is to be willing to show your humanness. Many people will appreciate this and want to follow you.