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Friday, January 12, 2007
Are you modelling yourself on the wrong model..be yourself in everything you do!!!
Tough as nails. Ice queen. Steely-eyed resolve.
There’s no shortage of popular, metaphoric expressions for the intrepid, invincible, impenetrable executive persona to which so many managers appear to aspire.
Striving to be the Hardest, Toughest Manager undercuts the example you set for the people around you.It seems that Real Managers have Kevlar woven right into the fabric of their constitution. They’re impervious to the slings and arrows of everyday challenges that befall mere mortals; immune to the piercing foibles of everyday life that bring down lesser colleagues. Heck, they are bullet-proof.
And yet… And yet, we all know intuitively that just cannot be. No one is all that infallible, indefatigable, unfailing.
Just think of the energy consumed tying to maintain that façade of being the Invincible Manager! You have to work doubly hard to be as perfect as possible, but what may not be so readily apparent, is the hidden cost of projecting the image of invincibility and invulnerability. Because you have to work even harder yet again to maintain the appearance of superiority and unflappability.
But the really interesting thing — the revelation that so many Super Managers find difficult, initially, to wrap their heads around — is that striving to be the Hardest, Toughest Manager undercuts the example you set for the people around you. Trying to be Invulnerable Manager doesn’t bolster your credibility, it undermines it.
Why is that?Showing vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but strength.
Here’s the reality. Everyone knows that perfection is not only elusive but unattainable. So at a core level, when we see someone passing themselves off as essentially without blemish, we know that something is awry with them. Invulnerability is a form of dishonesty. It undercuts trust.
On the other hand, when you can openly share your own vulnerability, show your foibles and imperfections, share tales of your mistakes, what does that communicate? Weakness? Au contraire!
This is the Paradox of Vulnerability: Showing your vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but displays your strength. Here’s how that works. A manager who is secure enough in his or her own skin to be candid, to reveal imperfections, to tell of missteps made, is not only not displaying weakness but demonstrating strength of character, revealing a sense of security fortified enough to reveal the unvarnished, unspun, unembellished truth.
It also encourages the people around you to be courageous. It has a magnifying effect. Think of it as the Lighthouse Principle. You know that a lighthouse beacon takes one point of light and magnifies it many times by reflecting it multiple times through a series of mirrors. A manager affects his or her associates in much the same way. His or her single point of light is reflected by all the people around that manager. The brighter the light, the stronger the reflectors, the greater the intensity of the total light created.
The paradox is, when you reveal your vulnerable side, you cast more light not less. And it is reflected back to you many fold in the intensity of effort of those around you. As the old song says, you can’t be a beacon if your light don’t shine.
See you guys tonight, looks like a long evening