Can Leaders Be Too Vulnerable?
There is no shortage of management experts telling us that leaders need to show
their vulnerability, being open and honest about who they are and how they feel.
But there is a limit to this advice, writes Jessica Stillman, in Fast Company. “Even just a little time in the business world is enough to reveal that over-sharing personal struggles can get you labeled unprofessional, and being too open with your worries just breeds useless fear.”
So how do you walk the line between being forthcoming and genuine, but not
burdening others with your problems or fears? Researcher, author, therapist and
TED speaker Brené Brown offered a succinct answer while speaking with Adam
Grant on the Worklife podcast: "Vulnerability minus boundaries is not
It’s constructive to share your own struggles to make others feel safer sharing theirs. It’s unhealthy if you want to unburden yourself and dump your worries and concerns on others. She suggests that before you decide to open up at work, you ask yourself if you are sharing your emotions and experiences to move your work, connections, or relationships forward? Or are you over-sharing by working your private stuff out with an audience? If the latter, stop talking.
Make sure professional sharing is always aimed at constructive goals and you'll walk the line between authenticity and self-absorption. Have you ever encountered an over-sharer at work, and how did you handle the situation? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
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