But a great leader knows that there's unmitigated power in vulnerability. But how can one be powerful yet open to attack? Can a person be vulnerable yet NOT seen as weak? Does vulnerability guarantee success?
"A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd." James Crook
Leading an orchestra requires singular focus and unwavering confidence, a true test of vulnerability. In front of the conductor wait those who have pledged cooperation with his leadership; behind him are those who wait for the result.
The conductor must call upon those who long for his leadership and elicit their very best performance, while drowning out the cheers and jeers of the crowd as he creates the magic he hears in his head. He doesn't seek the applause of the crowd; he strives toward excellence. That is his goal. Unleashing the enormous creativity of those he leads is the single mission of the conductor.
Vulnerability unlocks the true potential of our creativity in life. Consider others who have journeyed this road of vulnerability and unleashed their own creativity:
~ Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he succeeded.
~ R. H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York City caught on.
~ Fred Smith, the founder of Federal Express, received a "C" on his college paper detailing his idea for a reliable overnight delivery service. His professor at Yale told him, "Well, Fred, the concept is interesting and well formed, but in order to earn better than a "C" grade, your ideas also have to be feasible."
"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times I've been trusted to take the game winning shot ... and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. That is why I succeed." ~ Michael Jordan
Courage is not the lack of fear but our ability to face our fear with vulnerability. It takes intense courage to follow your instincts, unsure of the outcome, in the face of criticism. That is the marriage of strength and vulnerability.
I'll leave you with this final story. When Indra Nooyi was assigned the role of CEO of Pepsi, she made a very vulnerable move. She hopped a plane and went after the person who had been her biggest competitor for that very CEO job. In other words, she chased down the guy who lost the job! She believed that the company would be better with him on board. In doing that, she displayed incredible leadership, humility, and courage. Vulnerability.
How have you stepped out in vulnerability and taken a risk? I'd love to hear your stories.