The end of Mental Health Awareness Week is upon us, following what has been an amazing week of coverage throughout both mainstream and social media.
We’ve seen high performance athletes like Tyrone Mings and Joe Marler share their very personal, very real stories, along with MP Dawn Butler and TV personality Scarlett Moffatt.
Their stories and the experiences they shared have felt truly vulnerable.
Author Brene Brown. In her book Dare to Lead describes vulnerability as ‘the emotion that we experience during times of uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. It is having the courage to show up, fully engage and be seen when you can’t control the outcome.’
Mental Health Awareness Week 2021
Being vulnerable takes courage. You have to be strong to shed the protective layer of self-confidence and work with the uncontrollables. (Weird to think so many people still perceive vulnerability as weakness!)
Brene advises ‘Leadership vulnerability is about sharing what’s appropriate in the workplace and having some boundaries around what is helpful and apt and what isn’t.’
‘Vulnerable leaders share their vulnerability to personally develop and grow , to model the power of vulnerability and courage; and to create an environment where the workforce is able to do the same.’
Vulnerability has to be authentic. You can’t fake it til you make it.
You may personally have not felt ready – or able – to share vulnerability about mental health challenges throughout this week. Maybe that’s because you don’t feel you have personal experience to talk to, or maybe it’s because you were unsure of the ‘safety’ of the environment in which you lead.
Or maybe it’s because you realised it wasn’t helpful or apt to do so.
Vulnerable leadership doesn’t mean you have to wear your heart on your sleeve, or tell your life story. It means you know the power of vulnerability, and role modelling, and use them wisely to the benefit of both yourself and those around you.