Great Leaders Share Their Vulnerabilities along with Their Vision
September 25, 2015
Whether working with clients one on one, or speaking at events with hundreds of attendees, one question always comes up: how much to share. In this paradoxical age of “digital openness” and at the same time security concerns about privacy, many people default to sharing less. It can be tricky and scary, who knows what will be held against you. However, when building your reputation through trust and empathy, listening to other’s stories as well as sharing your own is a critical skill. Especially if you choose to lead, then your vulnerabilities are key to bringing others on board with your vision.
1- Develop your vision
As you explore your world, whether it is local, regional, national, or global, think about what you see wrong that you want to play a role in fixing. What is it that bothers you – is it homelessness, is it how people think about problems? A leader is intentional about making a difference by improving something for a group of people. It could be your direct team, vendors, clients, and family; the beauty is you get to choose the leadership role you want to play.
2- Step back and identify your key stories
You do not have to share everything. I recommend that you identify a few key stories that are authentic, meaningful, and worth sharing in so far as they help you provide and convey your vision for your family, team, company, industry, and beyond. It is important to have stories that make you approachable and human. I always have several key stories that I have shared so many times it is easy to do so whether I am networking, coaching, or delivering a speech. They are stories where I can laugh at myself, where I have learned something, or some remarkable moment that highlights a reason for why I do the work I do. What teachable moments stick out for you that are candidates for sharing? List out those moments and see which ones align and support your vision.
3- Stories need Substance & Soundbites
As you develop your vision and your stories, be sure they also resonate with your audience. Craft your message, review it with key people and get feedback. For women and men, it is important to test the waters with your stories. You will need to substantiate your story at some point, as well as create soundbites that get the attention of your audience. With substance and soundbites, your story will connect emotionally as well as be remembered.
I encourage you to think about what you can share about your journey that will help build trust with your audience, without sacrificing your security. It is what makes us human that brings us closer and can move us forward. When we participant with Sheryl Sandberg sharing her story of loss on Facebook, or watch Hillary Clinton speaking about her mother on video, there are places and ways to share unique experiences in person and online that resonate and meet your audience where they are. It is these stories that bring us together to bring about change and move people forward.
Join the Georgetown community (and beyond) at the Annual Georgetown Conference for Women in Business in November. There will be opportunities to learn more about leadership, gender intelligence, and closing the salary gap. In addition, you can network and build relationships while sharing and practicing your own stories and soundbites. See you there!
Be your best self,
Connect with Jen on LinkedIn, Twitter @BrandMirror, or Facebook/BrandMirror.
Jen Dalton, CEO of BrandMirror, has over 15 years of experience in strategy, marketing and coaching. In 2012, she made a gutsy move into the entrepreneurship space, launching her branding business and became a certified master personal branding strategist. She specializes in building your digital thought leadership on LinkedIn and other social media. She has spoken to and coached thousands of individuals and entrepreneurs about defining their brands, crafting their stories, and how to stand out. She is an international speaker and has worked with companies like GE, IBM, Capital One, 1776, C-Lever, and more. In addition, Jen joined the Executive Coaching team in 2014 at Georgetown University and works with their Executive MBA candidates. She believes you need to be a noise-breaker, not a noise-maker.