Show some vulnerability

Working with people going through assessment processes, in what for them has until recently been a purely competency-based arena, I’m always keen to encourage the odd statement or comment that describes what some might call a weakness, yet others might call a growing edge.


So, how to turn a perceived vulnerability into a selling point?  Easy.  Be authentic.

If you’ve struggled with something, find a way to talk/write about your journey from first realisation, charting a path through the development you undertook to grow.  This might include:

  • increased self-awareness through a range of psychometric profiling tools
  • feedback through a 360
  • unsolicited feedback that suggested you were on the right path, or heading in a better direction
  • observation by peers
  • something you’ve read – a book, an Internet article, that’s inspired you
  • the reflection you engaged in – did you keep a journal perhaps?
  • who helped you along the way – maybe a coach or a mentor or simply a critical friend
  • how you learnt by trying something out – learning by doing, learning from mistakes

A good example?

A friend shared with me their natural preference to tell rather than to coach their team.  They know this about themselves, and are exploring what’s causing it: trust issues, uncertainty about the person’s competence, workload and demand meaning that sometimes they feel it’s easier just to do it themselves.  But they recently practised trying to hold back from doing and telling when faced with a colleague suggesting how a task should be completed.  My very experienced friend had a hunch that what was being suggested might not work, and was desperate to correct them, but instead they listened to the proposal and let them go solo with their idea.

Long story short?  My friend’s colleague didn’t get the task exactly right, but rather than their attempts being seen as a mistake, they travelled along a steep learning curve and worked out for themselves what they should do next time to get it right. And then my friend used this experience in a recent interview as a very strong, positive example of their own self-awareness and development.

One thought on “Show some vulnerability

  1. Christine I love this. Really relevant as we move into a more individual leadership style. I love your narrative too – it says so much about you.


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