One of the best ways to build a connection between yourself and others is to share information about yourself—who you are, where you’re from, your influences, etc. Being vulnerable and sharing a little bit about your life helps people see you as more than a one-dimensional character.
So why are so many leaders hesitant to share information about themselves? For some reason, they’ve determined that showing vulnerability is unprofessional or possibly a sign of weakness—but nothing could be further from the truth.
In our experience working with leaders on sharing their leadership point of view, one of the key things we recommend is that they share stories of both successes and failures that have shaped their lives as leaders. These stories help direct reports learn more about what makes their leader tick. They also help people better anticipate how a leader will react in certain situations. The goal of a leadership point of view conversation is all about taking time to share some of the key influencers in your life—people and events that have shaped not only you as a leader but also your values and what you expect of yourself and others.
Three Success Factors in Creating Your Story
In working with leaders on their point of view, here are three success factors the best leaders always seem to follow:
- Take time to reflect. Remember, your point of view wasn’t shaped in a day. You need time to explore and contemplate what makes you Take your time to think through the influential people and experiences in your life. Write down your thoughts. Talk about them with a coach, a mentor or a friend, and get feedback. You might be surprised at what you rediscover about yourself.
- Illustrate with stories. Facts are important, but personal examples bring your story to life. Use real-life anecdotes to illustrate how you came by your values and leadership philosophies—in essence, how you became the leader you are today.
- Have courage to speak your truth. Share what is in your heart, where it came from, and why it’s important. What experiences—positive and negative—have shaped who you are? Who in your life has influenced you? What lessons have you learned along the way, and how?
Once you have a sense of the important people and events in your life, start writing. It may take multiple drafts, but the reward will be a document that will guide you in the most important part of this process—sharing your leadership point of view with your team. You are not being vain, weak, or self centered when you share your story. Instead, you are creating connection by sharing your strengths and weaknesses and encouraging others to feel comfortable doing the same. These are the attributes of a strong leader—and a strong team.
As a leader, you have the opportunity to set the tone for the type of relationship you want to have with your people. Don’t make it a guessing game. Encourage open, trustful relationships with others by sharing your leadership point of view.
About the Author
Joni Wickline is Vice President, Professional Services with The Ken Blanchard Companies. You can read Wickline’s posts as a part of Coaching Tuesday here at Blanchard LeaderChat for ideas, research, and inspirations from the world of executive coaching.