Leading with vulnerability

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During our recent Unhurried Leadership workshop, we picked images from Viv's collection of street art to represent our ideas about leadership.

In this image we see someone who has donned the attire of a superhero, but is now having second thoughts. The costume which is supposed to convey boldness and distinction now seems to suggest vulnerability. That's often the way when we assume a starring role - what seemed exciting a moment ago can suddenly feel risky or downright foolish.

We sometimes like to say, "if it doesn't feel a bit unsafe, it's probably not leadership." Rather than live up to heroic stereotypes, what if we practice being more at ease with the inevitable vulnerability and risk of trying to make a change in our lives or organisations? 

Often when we're learning a new way to do things we enter a liminal space where we are actually making progress but *feel* uncertain and think of giving up. Sometimes we need to slow down enough to stay in that space rather than either rush forward or back.

We have a rule-of-thumb in our work that we need to do something new, that feels uncertain, in every meeting we host. It's the same idea that prompted Viv to train in stand-up comedy and go on stage with a real audience for a set. 

It's also why we often talk about our work as a practice: we don't want to get too comfortable with any process. We want to be willing to find the edge, and to risk failing, so we - and those around us - can keep learning.