Leading Through Upheaval: Get Vulnerable

Leading Through Upheaval: Get Vulnerable


Healthcare has been in a constant state of change to the point of upheaval for months on end, putting even the most resilient and courageous to the test. Workers and their leaders are exhausted, discouraged, and running on fumes.  Many of those on the front line are essentially asking, “How long will this go on?” Of course, no one has the answer to that question. So how can leaders respond? They can practice vulnerability.


In an ever-changing industry, how can you help as a leader?


Being vulnerable yet authentic and transparent is crucial when leading through change, especially when that change is more closely classified as upheaval. The truth is, you don’t have all the answers and solutions, but you are here to listen, support, and encourage.

Vulnerability makes you human

Many leaders cringe at the thought of being vulnerable with their teams. After all, they are supposed to be the fearless leader with all the answers. Not so. In fact, being vulnerable with your team shows that you are human and are relating to their struggles.

Admitting that you don’t have all the answers isn’t the end of the conversation but rather the beginning. Think about the difference. If someone comes to you with a problem for which there are no simple and immediate solutions, don’t get defensive, responding with “What do you expect me to do about it?”

Instead, put ego aside and recognize that you may not have the answers, but you are here to support them. A leader’s vulnerability builds trust. See Brené Browns TED talk on vulnerability and how effective it is. By admitting you don’t have the answers and that you see the problem, it becomes a human-to-human discussion where you can demonstrate that you are walking through the situation together. They are not alone.


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