I was recently speaking at a men’s gathering, and I shared a story from my past that was a really hard time in my life. I shared about the challenges I had faced, I shared about my struggle to get through it and I shared about the things that God taught me through the process. Basically, I was simply sharing my story.
Afterward, a man came up to me and thanked me for being honest and vulnerable, then he shared that he hadn’t heard a lot of speakers share about the challenges they had faced in such an honest way. I thanked him for the words and moved on.
Later, I thought back to that conversation, and it really bothered me. Why do people in leadership feel that they need to create such a front so that people don’t really know who they are and what they’re struggling with?
When I was a younger leader, I battled this. I was afraid the older people would look down on me if I was truly honest. I was afraid the younger people wouldn’t listen to me if I really shared what I was dealing with. So, I learned to play it safe, and basically just keep everyone happy.
As I’ve gotten older and as I’ve gained experience, I’ve learned that I learn best from people that are honest with me. I learn most from their failures, from their struggles and from their fear. I realize that this may be counter-cultural, but I want people to be real. This is what encourages me.
You see, I’m a leader, and I also live with fear, insecurity and failure. Some of the toughest time in my role as a leader have taught me some of the most important life lessons.
Vulnerability and honesty builds trust.
Don’t be content to play the game. Figure out how to be a leader that can be honest with those around you, especially those that work closely with you. Share your life, share your struggles, share your journey, share your story. Then, share your successes, share your growth, share your victories, share your life.
Take a step closer to honesty today. Be a leader.