Lately, it has become easier to discern leaders at heart from those who are merely bosses. It’s been fascinating to witness how true leaders are exhibiting the qualities that make them so effective at leading: vulnerability and empathy.
Obviously, team members need guidance on how to work in this new environment, but the focus on the “how” should not preclude the time that should be spent in allowing them to express how they truly feel. An emotion that is expressed, heard and validated promotes emotional healing; the foundation for being empathetic.
As far as vulnerability, which some mistakenly perceive as weakness, is the trademark of a natural leader. Sharing unsettling feelings about the current context, admitting to not having all the answers, accepting shortcomings, recognising mistakes, and confessing feeling overwhelmed, are all examples of emotional exposure. Some might not be willing to take that risk, but those who do will forge deep connections with their team members, and will undoubtedly help them and the team to thrive in the new normal.