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Balance Vulnerability and Confidence

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As a leader, vulnerability and confidence don’t have to be mutually exclusive. You can strike a healthy balance so that your team knows that it’s OK to make mistakes and have faith in your abilities. Adapt language — with yourself and others — that reinforces that failure is normal. Using simple statements like “The brain is a muscle that gets stronger with practice” or “Nobody ever walks before they fall” will model for your team that failure is a necessary step to success. Next, share stories of missteps — and explain how they helped you in your journey. When you reveal moments of weakness, your team ultimately perceives you as a stronger leader. Finally, show moral humility. In other words, don’t sit on a high horse. An air of superiority can discourage people from speaking up and cause them to disengage. Instead, admit that you, like anyone, are capable of lapses in judgment and demonstrate that you’re open to others’ ideas when it comes to solving ethical issues. Showing vulnerability isn’t easy but leaders who do are seen as more approachable and less arrogant, and ultimately more confident.

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