A recent survey amongst managers found that appearing vulnerable was one of the top fears managers fear the most.
Feeling vulnerable can cover a multitude of areas but common to the feeling of being caught out. In other words, the belief that we are going to be found making a mistake or possibly showing a weakness.
This way of thinking can be very destructive, particularly as a manager or leader; we start to create a mindest of invulnerability where we are almost superhuman, and we never make mistakes. We always achieve everything we want to, eventually!
Of course, this sort of thinking is delusional, we all make mistakes, we all have personal development areas, this includes you, me and every single person I have ever met or had the pleasure to work with. The reality is that we are all ignorant of what is happening; unfortunately, we don't know what we don't know!
As a manager being vulnerable or having development areas should be seen as an area of strength.
When managing a team, owing up to particular areas of weakness or areas of development is a sign of strength and not a weakness. It is a sign of confidence, acknowledging a development need and being open to learning. A team is much more likely to support the manager if they know the area of development has been accepted.
When they don't, other things are going on in that team and possibly linked to the invulnerability shown by the manager. Discussions go on behind the scenes, and everything is kept quiet!
The best teams and the best managers I have ever worked with know this, everyone is open, and everyone (including the manager) talks about their weaknesses and their problems openly. When we do this, our vulnerabilities start to disappear.
Ralph Moody is the founder of Target Training and specialises in trainer and management development. You can read more about him here.