Vulnerability – The Core of Leadership

I have been doing a lot of reading and thinking about leadership. Mainly I’m focussed on leading versus managing and the question, “Why is it so hard for Enterprise Architects or other technical people to be leaders?”

By the time Enterprise Architects get into their role they have been around for a while. It’s not a job usually given to new people. Architects have made a career on having the “right answer” and I see architects struggle with giving over control, decision making, and the need to be “right” almost on a weekly basis. I know that good architects who are acknowledged as leaders facilitate decision making instead of making decisions.

I have been a fan of Patrick Lencioni for a while. Pat describes the key element in leadership as vulnerability. I have also been reading Primal Leadership by Daniel Goleman, and Daniel says that the fundamental element in leadership is emotion. That makes leadership a pretty messy thing. Architects don’t like messy … they don’t do messy. If vulnerability is key to leadership, how do I show architects what it looks like?

I came across this TED Talk by Brene Brown. Brene tells her story about engaging with vulnerability as a researcher in Social Work. There are three important things about this video.

First, as a researcher Brene describes from her experience what it’s like to have an analytical mind. Researchers and architects share this personality aspect. To paraphrase: “I put all the information into a Bento Box.”

Second, she describes what vulnerability is and gives us keys for why it’s important in our personal and work lives.

Third, she describes her journey as an analytic “need to be right” person to being vulnerable.

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