Career Fortitude



Often the term vulnerable is associated with being exposed to danger and at risk of being wounded either physically or mentally.  In regards to self-awareness and personal growth being vulnerable pertains to opening yourself up emotionally as a promoter of growth.  There can be psychological risks when opening up with vulnerability.  It requires us to confront our deepest fears, to confront the possibility of rejection, ridicule, or disappointment.  In most cases, people who lean into vulnerability are free to live a more authentic life and build stronger connections with others.  By surrounding yourself with people you’re connected with you lower the risk because you’ve built a strong network of authenticity.  The vulnerability benefits of leadership coaching allow aspiring professionals to have a safe space to explore their vulnerability and learn how to incorporate vulnerability into their leadership in order to grow.

Vulnerability is the doorway to authentic connection, personal growth, and resilience.  It’s in the moments of vulnerability that we reveal our true selves, fostering deeper connections with others.  Historically in a business setting vulnerability was perceived as a weakness, but it’s actually a profound strength that fosters trust, connection, and innovation within teams.

As I recall my approach to vulnerability as a leader, it was only after taking a deeper look at where the fears were rooted that I was able to take more risks and become more comfortable with vulnerability.  The fear that drives us to close off and cower in the face of psychological risk can manifest from an array of areas of our lives.  Previous rejection or ridicule, weak interpersonal skills, and fear of failure are common drivers of steering clear of vulnerability.  As I challenged myself to lean into vulnerability as a leader, I began by opening up to my peers.  We had common responsibilities and worked together each day working towards a common goal, so it was the safest place to begin.

I remember the fear of sharing something personal during team-building activities that I considered deep within myself and couldn’t think of any reason it needed to be revealed to others.  My heart would race and my stomach would drop just thinking about being vulnerable.  The fear quickly turned to relief and sometimes even comfort when I opened up with my peers.

I found strength in these moments and began the same strategy when working with my boss, whom I considered my personal coach.  I was lucky to have a strong and empathetic leader who helped promote me and encouraged the growth of my softer skills.  Eventually, I became more comfortable opening up with my direct reports.  I had the same hesitations and fears as when I first opened up with my peers, but with time the trust and support that was built with my team outweighed any nervousness or fear of being vulnerable.  The vulnerability benefits of leadership coaching were instrumental in my personal leadership growth and allowed me to flourish as a leader.

Advantages Of Leaning Into Vulnerability

Vulnerability fosters genuine connections.  When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we show our true emotions, fears, and insecurities.  This openness invites others to do the same, creating bonds built on trust and empathy.  Authentic relationships thrive on vulnerability because they are based on acceptance and understanding rather than pretense or superficiality.

Vulnerability is essential for personal growth.  It takes courage to confront our weaknesses and limitations, but doing so allows us to learn, adapt, and evolve.  By embracing vulnerability, we acknowledge our humanity and give ourselves permission to make mistakes and learn from them. This openness to growth enables us to develop resilience and navigate life’s challenges with greater strength and wisdom.

Vulnerability is key to creativity and innovation.  When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we become more open to taking risks and exploring new ideas.  Creativity flourishes in environments where people feel safe to express themselves without fear of judgment or rejection.  By embracing vulnerability, individuals and organizations can unlock their creative potential and find innovative solutions to complex problems.

Vulnerability is essential for mental health and well-being.  Suppressing emotions and putting up walls of invulnerability can lead to feelings of isolation and disconnection.  Embracing vulnerability allows us to experience the full range of human emotions and seek support when needed.  It is through vulnerability that we can cultivate resilience, build meaningful relationships, and find true fulfillment in life.

Embracing The Vulnerability Benefits Of Leadership Coaching

  • Improving vulnerability as a leader involves a delicate balance of authenticity, empathy, and courage.  The investment in personal growth and living into your authentic self as a leader opens up the door for trust, empathy, and safety among a team.  Here’s how leaders can enhance their vulnerability:
  • Self-awareness lays the foundation for vulnerability.  Leaders must be in tune with their emotions, strengths, and limitations.  Leaders who acknowledge their imperfections create an environment where team members feel safe to be authentic.
  • Fostering a culture of psychological safety encourages vulnerability among team members.  When leaders demonstrate openness and acceptance of diverse perspectives, employees feel empowered to express themselves without fear of judgment.  Embracing mistakes as learning opportunities cultivates a supportive environment where vulnerability thrives.
  • Effective communication is essential for vulnerable leadership.  Leaders should share their experiences, challenges, and emotions openly with their teams.  Transparency about decision-making processes and the rationale behind choices builds trust and encourages others to do the same.  Honest conversations about failures and setbacks demonstrate resilience and authenticity, inspiring team members to embrace vulnerability in their own work.
  • Empathy plays a crucial role in vulnerability.  Understanding and empathizing with the experiences and emotions of others create stronger connections.  Leaders who demonstrate empathy create a sense of belonging and foster trust within their teams.  By actively listening and validating the feelings of team members, leaders strengthen relationships and encourage open communication.
  • Vulnerability requires courage and humility.  Stepping outside comfort zones and taking risks is essential for personal and professional growth.  Leaders must be willing to confront their fears and insecurities, demonstrating resilience in the face of uncertainty.  Leaders who are humble acknowledge their mistakes and seek feedback from others.  Admitting when they don’t have all the answers and being open to learning from others fosters a culture of continuous improvement.

Vulnerability demands a leap of faith, a surrendering of control, and a willingness to embrace the inherent uncertainty of life.  By acknowledging our limitations and accepting our flaws, we open ourselves up to the possibility of transformation and self-discovery.  It’s especially true for leaders, who by definition need to be leading by example.

Vulnerability benefits of leadership coaching include strengthening leaders by building stronger connections with the people they lead.  This results in teams built on trust and empathy, openness and acceptance, and creates an environment where growth and accomplishments are constant.

Link to my FREE Career Satisfaction Worksheet

Philip Hilt – Leadership & Career Coach


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