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Leadership, vulnerability and personal brand

 

 

The vulnerability human, and for us it makes a powerful difference to robots (at least for the moment). A few days ago I read a fantastic text published in Fast Company by Chris Litster, CEO of Buildium, a platform to help property managers streamline their businesses..

I'm not going to translate the article, but I am going to try to extract some lessons on management. If you have little time, I invite you to see this summary a minute (in Spanish):

Promotion to CEO

Chris Litster was promoted to CEO within his company, and set out to be an empathetic, listening, close leader. Ready to "let down his guard at work and create a space for real understanding and empathy" , something really risky in a traditional organizational model.

For me, there is a key question that Litster asks: Wouldn’t we all like to live in a world where people were honest about their insecurities and needs, rather than projecting overconfidence and aggression, especially in business?

Lesson 1: The binomial Leadership + Vulnerability is not easy to exercise

In his early months as CEO, Litster was so focused on "not being a dictator" that he went the other way. By not taking a more vertical approach, he ended up leaving his senior team in a leadership leadership .

His team doubted what Litster expected of them, did not feel that they had their support, and that generated uncertainty and stress.

Vulnerability and clarity are not mutually exclusive

It was only when he made things clear that he began to move in the right direction. As a lesson, vulnerability and clarity are not mutually exclusive. Being vulnerable means being clear about needs and expectations and receiving feedback.

Lesson 2: honesty yes, but under a leadership of service

We agree: being very honest with your team is the cornerstone of good leadership. But honesty must be accompanied by an offer of help, support and guidance.

It's okay to reprimand someone for not fulfilling their part of the bargain or not achieving their goals, as long as you have the resources at hand to help them overcome their obstacles. As a lesson, let's not forget that leadership must be about service.

Lesson 3: A Thin Line Separates Coherence from Ingenuity

Litster wanted to improve the elements that make an organization 100% integrated in the 21st century: This is diversity and inclusion. To this end, he organised an event for women to discuss the major technological challenges.

Without realizing it , the event, which sought to be inclusive, became exclusive. The lesson learned is that you don't always have to step back and regret a decision. Litster shared the process of reflecting on that position with a new philosophy: Agreement is not necessarily the goal; understanding is.

At this point, I think it takes some courage to justify an apparent contradiction. The author calls it leadership from vulnerability.

Lesson 4: All Superpowers Must Be Activated

Those of you who know me from previous readings know that for me our Values are our superpowers. Litster adds a new superpower: that of asking.

And he adds it as a result of an anecdote: he found on his desk a paper with a drawn bird and the word "vulture". Initially he attributed it to a possible criticism of his leadership .

Asked, Asked, the vulture was the mascot of a team in which Litster was named an honorary member. End of speculation. Key lesson: ask before you reach misleading conclusions.

Lesson 5: Rely on Other Leaders, Avoid Manager Loneliness Syndrome

Litster's previous CEO, who gave him the reins of the company, was beside him at all times . Kind of an executive consultant. .

True, CEOs, because they are CEO's, don't have all the answers. In her words "true leadership is knowing what you don't know and what you won't know". Therefore, having a point of support gives a deeper and more realistic view of things.

Litster is doing very well, and so is his organization. He admits that living in vulnerability as a leader has given him the set of tools to start improving: recognizing mistakes before they become lethal and correcting the course as soon as possible.

Vulnerability is not the Achilles heel

We have grown up thinking that vulnerability is the crack in the boat through which water enters. In leadership it's not like that. Vulnerability is sensitivity, empathy, it is to take the helm of the ship directing the team so as not to run aground, to avoid cracks.

In terms of personal brand, the opportunity lies in modifying the idea of the leader as someone who is unbreakable, who knows everything and doesn't care about the problems of his people.

Today's big bank managers or big companies still run in a zero vulnerability format. We may need the next generation of people like Chris Litster to come along to achieve a business ecosystem that prioritizes purpose, and within it people, yes, planet and profits (in that order).

 

Stock Photos from Professional Bat / Shutterstock.