“Showing weakness is not an option because others will only take advantage of my honesty. I’d rather be seen as the tough guy!” Many managers often feel uncomfortable if they’re unable to demonstrate power in their job. Ultimately, they’re scared. And some believe that those who ignore their fears, actually end up being governed by them. We look at why showing weakness is, in fact, a strength.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! Even today, many managers still live by this motto. They are convinced that there’s one thing you must demonstrate in the shark tank above all else: power. How do they do that? They build their walls high to defend against attacks. Are you one of those managers who like to put on a tough guy act? Or have you given up trying to compete with your counterparts and resigned yourself to following a different path? Don’t give in to defeat. The solution is simple – all that’s required is showing a little emotion.
Who am I?
At some point in our lives, we all face this seemingly simple question. And only once we really understand who we are, can we truly be ourselves. Have you stopped to consider what type of manager you are? Are you the tough boss who, when put on the spot, immediately goes on the defensive? Or are you a leader who understands your weaknesses and can openly admit them in front of your team members? You need to be able to distinguish between the two and understand the impact your behavior has on your reputation in the workplace.
Why is weakness a strength?
The American psychologist Brené Brown identified the most common cause for an overt display of power among high-ranking managers: fear. The fear of not being perfect. The fear of showing one’s vulnerability. And the fear of crashing as a result. Brown commented: “We live in a world full of vulnerability and fear, but we continue to attempt to suppress our emotions. As a result, we become numb to all our feelings!” When it comes to human behavior in the workplace, many people spend so much time striving for perfection that they end up ignoring their colleagues around them. But strength isn’t always about fighting to be the best. Sometimes it’s about letting go.
Nobody is perfect
Perfection is a misconception – it does not exist. Brené Brown has a rather simple sounding suggestion for tough managers, “Accept once and for all that there is no such thing as perfect! And that you are not perfect either. Stop comparing yourself to other people and focus on being yourself. Allow yourself to be weak.”
Take being weak as a compliment
Managers should not only learn how to accept their weaknesses but also how to display them to others. “Those who ignore their fears are governed by them. As a leader, I show my weaknesses by showing others that I am ready to accept support. And that naturally promotes team spirit,” explains psychiatrist Manfred Lütz. And he has a point because without taking risks in management and leadership there would be no real innovation.
As a leader, you must remain authentic and demonstrate a certain degree empathy. You should be able to relate to and interact with your employees not only professionally but also emotionally. The lesson is to maintain relationships with colleagues as well as managers because, according to Brown, it is our relationships with others that are the “purpose and meaning of our lives.”
About the author
Jörg Peter Urbach is the author, editor, and blogger of Sprachleidenschaft. He has been writing for more than 25 years, for both print and online, and has published concepts, stories, and journal articles. After studying music and German language and literature, Jörg Peter worked as an editorial manager in the classical music industry. As long-time chief editor of the portal wissen.de, he knows how to inspire readers with clever topics.
When the author from Kiel is not writing, he enjoys walking through the Alps or listening to the opera with mindfulness.